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  • We're living in momentous times.

  • Now, I don't know whether you know

  • but this is a world first -- the TED conferences

  • go all over the world, all different countries --

  • this is the very very first time --

  • normally you take a place name,

  • normally you take a university name --

  • this is the very first time a TED

  • has ever been named after a person

  • and -- (Laughter) (Applause)

  • I just wanted to say, it's a fantastic honour.

  • We mentioned before Sheldon, and I just want to say

  • there's never yet been a TEDxCooper

  • so, Sheldon Cooper, eat your heart out.

  • What we're gonna be looking at today --

  • yeah, plugging your brains into a network,

  • what's the possibility

  • both from a healthcare point of view

  • and in terms of -- maybe some of you feel quite bored

  • being a human, quite limited in what you can do

  • and particularly your brain doesn't perform how it should,

  • so, what are the possibilities of an upgrade.

  • We should start tho, on the back of healthcare

  • but as we gonna see it's a lot more than that

  • -- implants and things like that.

  • Class II sounds quite technical.

  • In fact, what the Class II implants is

  • for those of you that don't know --

  • This is a younger version of me,

  • way back, the last millenium

  • and my G. P. so this is was all done in the National Health.

  • And what I'm having implanted is this little device

  • -- not the thing on the left hand side.

  • (Laughter)

  • This is this quaint currency we still have.

  • The thing on the right hand side --

  • a radiofrequency identification device.

  • I had this implanted,

  • because various people, Peter Cochrane, who's a head

  • of B. T. research labs was saying,

  • "In the future we are not gonna need passports,

  • we are not gonna need credit cards --

  • What we will have is a little implant under the skin."

  • But nobody had actually tried it until this particular experiment.

  • Now what it did for me was, in my doorways --

  • I'm from Reading University.

  • Is there anybody else here from Reading?

  • Audience: Yeah!

  • Kevin Warwick: Oh, come on! (Laughter)

  • Anybody else here from Reading?

  • (Clamor) Yay, there we go!

  • It needed a bit of warming up there, I think.

  • In my building, Cybernetic building at Reading,

  • we've got coils of wire in the door frames.

  • and if you have an implant of this type

  • and you walk through the door frames

  • then current is induced in the [implant],

  • transmits a singal back to the coils, which are linked

  • to the computer. And what it did for me was, as I walked

  • down the corridor, the lights came on, just for me,

  • walking to my laboratory, the door opened

  • -- I mean, it's really cool stuff.

  • Coming in the doors, says, "Hello, Professor Warwick."

  • All fantastic stuff.

  • And various people said, "Uh, who's ever gonna want

  • to have anything like that?" No!

  • Is anybody here got a cat or a dog

  • with a chip implanted?

  • It's all right, you can speak!

  • Is anybody out there?

  • You can rest assured, that this was fully tested

  • on humans before your animal -- (Laughter)

  • So no need to worry at all.

  • There's actually a night club -- I know

  • in the academic world we can't afford those things --

  • but, there's a night club in Barcelona,

  • there's another one in Rotterdam,

  • called the Baja Beach club, and if you go there

  • they actually send you around the corner

  • and you can get one of these things --

  • a smaller version, don't worry it's not that big --

  • implant it, and then when you go in the night club

  • you don't have to pay for your drinks directly.

  • It's automatically charged to your implant.

  • I'm serious! Try it, try it.

  • Good advert for the Baja Beach club.

  • That's implant number 1.

  • I'm going to flick on to "Regulation"

  • because some of you may think this isn't going anywhere.

  • Well, in the United States, they have,

  • for people with diabetes and with epilepsy,

  • they can have this thing implanted.

  • And now, under Barack Obama, the healthcare rules

  • that you have to have it regulated.

  • Even with the possibility that you may have to have

  • one implanted. We'll see where that goes.

  • But I'm going to take you, right up to date,

  • to what some of my students are doing.

  • This is the sort of implant you could try yourself.

  • This is Jawish, he's one of my students.

  • I've got three students now, that have had magnets

  • implanted in their fingertips

  • for part of their degree courses that they are doing, my students.

  • (Laughter)

  • We have to get ethical approval from the university

  • to do this sort of thing.

  • And you may notice -- I'm supposed to stay

  • on this red carpet but I'm going to zip up

  • for a moment, 'cos you may notice here

  • the guy who's doing the implant

  • has tatoos on his arm. That's because he is

  • a tatoo artist, that's what he does.

  • And he goes by the name -- this is serious

  • he goes by the name of "Dr. Evil".

  • (Laughter)

  • Now, we have to fill in a form for the university

  • (Laughter)

  • that says who is carrying out the medical procedure.

  • Yeah. I mean, they can be really awkward over it, I have to say.

  • This is an X-ray of Jawish's fingertips.

  • You can see the magnets implanted.

  • Now what we are doing -- now, on the baseball cap

  • he's got ultrasonic sensors and the output

  • from those sensors is fed down

  • to a little coil of wire around the magnet.

  • And what happens, as an object comes closer,

  • the current in the coil is changed,

  • so the magnet vibrates more

  • the closer an object is, and less

  • as the object is further away.

  • So essentially Jawish can feel

  • how far objects are away. So it's sensory substitution.

  • Now, Ian Harrison, one of my PhD students with me now,

  • he's linked up to an infrared sensor.

  • So he has magnets implanted.

  • Now, infrarred is like a heat signal.

  • So what he can do is remotely feel how hot objects are.

  • So if you can get the audience, you can point,

  • "Ah, you are hotter than you, you are hotter --"

  • (Laughter)

  • I mean, in a temperature sense.

  • Don't sort of stalk me or something like that, because I'm --

  • particularly the guys here, I really didn't mean it.

  • (Laughter)

  • But, you see, the military aplication for this is immediate.

  • If you are a soldier and you are about

  • to go into a room, and you don't know whether

  • there's anybody there or not,

  • you can simply push your finger around the corner

  • and scan, "Ah! There's somebody over there!"

  • You know exactly where they are, but also

  • how hot they are, for what use that is.

  • (Laughter)

  • This is Ashley and he's doing some work

  • -- a guy, Paul Bach-y-Rita, originally did this

  • -- and it's actually sending little stimulating pulses

  • into his tongue, to communicate in a new way.

  • This is interesting, because people have never tried

  • this before. If you actually tried it,

  • very quickly you'd be able to pick up

  • and pick up letters and signs --

  • So it's a new way of communicating.

  • But the interesting thing is, if he sends

  • a particular -- let's say, a triangle --

  • a particular shape, then the person

  • even if they haven't tried it before,

  • will say, "Yes, that's a triangle."

  • But if we ask them

  • to draw the triangle, then some people will draw it

  • the right way up, some people draw it upside down

  • and sideways, all sorts of different dimensions to it.

  • We are not sure why. It is the routing

  • from the tongue up to the brain is very very rapid

  • and people can learn to use it to communicate very quickly.

  • But there seems to be a particular way that it's wired

  • that we have a lot to learn about.

  • So it's one of those things with the research,

  • you end with more questions than you started with.

  • Now, some of you -- this is where

  • if you want to go ahead with this,

  • it could be dangerous for you now, but it might be something

  • you want to do when you are technically dead.

  • So, it's the sort of thing to put, not before, but as I die,

  • could I try this, please.

  • And that is, when you think of a robot,

  • you think of either a computer-controlled device,

  • or perhaps something that's remote-controlled.

  • Well, what we are developing are robots with their own brains.

  • And, what we do -- you see, on the right hand side

  • of the picture here, is the physical robot.

  • I mean, typically, because it is a laboratory

  • and there we use a little robot on wheels.

  • It has ultrasonic sensors.

  • just like we saw on the baseball cap.

  • But the brain of the robot is not a computer.

  • The thing that says MEA is Multi-Electrode Array

  • that's all right, you don't have to learn this.

  • I'm not gonna test you on it later on.

  • What does it say? (Laughter)

  • About two people. Yes. All right.

  • What is Multi-Electrode Array?

  • What it actually is, is a little dish

  • on the bottom of which are electrodes.

  • What we do is take brain cells

  • from rat embryos, separate them, and then

  • squeeze them into this little dish, and grow them.

  • We have to feed them using minerals and nutrients

  • -- a little pink liquid that is amazingly expensive

  • in comparison with Lucozade -- oh, advertising again

  • I shouldn't say it. But it does roughly the same stuff.

  • And they are kept in an incubator, at 37ºC

  • That's where they grow. And then we link them up

  • to a robot body. So the physical body of the robot

  • is a technological body, but the brain

  • is a biological brain that's growing.

  • And what we are looking at, is trying to figure out

  • particularly how memories appear in the brain.

  • How it learns and adapts and so on and so forth.

  • We can see -- witness it learning

  • simple tasks at the present time.

  • Importantly, at the moment, the rat brain robot,

  • as it were, has about 100,000 brain cells.

  • Where us humans have -- how many brain cells do we have?

  • Audience: Six.

  • Kevin Warwick: Six! This is a Manchester United supporter, obviously.

  • (Laughter) (Applause)

  • Don't clap on this stuff, isn't scientific!

  • So, any advance on six?

  • Audience: A billion.

  • KW: A billion. I mean, it depends.

  • Most of us have a hundred billion.

  • I thought, "No, who counted this?"

  • Americans say it's two hundred billion,

  • but that's -- you know -- that's them, obviously.

  • (Laughter)

  • For the rest of us is a hundred billion.

  • So we are talking here of 100,000.

  • We're now growing these things --

  • this is the little dish on the left hand side.

  • That's where they grow. We have to keep it moist

  • and so on, it can't let it dehydrate.

  • The right hand side are the electrodes, there you see.

  • And the neurons grow in there, link up with each other.

  • It's quite amazing, these brain cells!

  • You put them down, they've got no connections.

  • Within a few minutes you can see them putting out

  • what look like tentacles.