The Potential to Enhance the Human Intellect's Existing Capacity to Learn New Skills

It's a case of life imitating art. Much as the sci-fi film "The Matrix" depicted a device capable of enhancing skill acquisition, researchers at HRL Laboratories, LLC, have discovered that low-current electrical brain stimulation can modulate the learning of complex real-world skills.

Dr. Matthew Phillips and his team of investigators from HRL's Information & System Sciences Laboratory used transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in order to improve learning and skill retention. "We measured the brain activity patterns of six commercial and military pilots, and then transmitted these patterns into novice subjects as they learned to pilot an airplane in a realistic flight simulator," he says.

The study, published in the February 2016 issue of the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, found that subjects who received brain stimulation via electrode-embedded head caps improved their piloting abilities. "We measured the average g-force of the plane during the simulated landing and compared it to control subjects who received a mock brain stimulation," says Phillips.

While previous research has demonstrated that tDCS can both help patients more quickly recover from a stroke and boost a healthy person's creativity, HRL's study is one of the first to show that tDCS is effective in accelerating practical learning. Phillips speculates that the potential to increase learning with brain stimulation may make this form of accelerated learning commonplace. "As we discover more about optimizing, personalizing, and adapting brain stimulation protocols, we'll likely see these technologies become routine in training and classroom environments," he says. "It's possible that brain stimulation could be implemented for classes like drivers' training, SAT prep, and language learning."

About HRL Laboratories, LLC
HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California is a corporate research-and-development laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors specializing in research into sensors and materials, information and systems sciences, applied electromagnetics, and microelectronics. HRL provides custom research and development and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC member companies, the U.S. government, and other commercial companies.

Most Popular Now

Interactive Health Apps May Inspire Heal…

Just like real doctors and nurses, online health tools with good - but controlled - communication skills can promote healthier lifestyles, according to researchers. However, if their tone is conversational...

Read more

Augmented Reality Visor to Dramatically …

Employing new photonics technology, European scientists are developing a new Augmented Reality surgical visor in a bid to improve accuracy of interventions, showing anaesthetic and medical data while superimposing a...

Read more

UK and Italian Health Tech Firms to Help…

Data sharing ambitions set out in newly published sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have been given a boost by a new strategic partnership between data management specialist Stalis and Italy's...

Read more

Call for Papers: EHB 2017 - IEEE Interna…

22 - 24 June 2017, Sinaia, Romania. The 6-th edition of the International Conference on e-Health and Bioengineering, EHB 2017, will take place in the city of Sinaia, Romania. This year...

Read more

From Health Apps to Nursing Robots - A G…

25 - 27 April 2017, Berlin, Germany. Around the world the subject of e-Health is steadily gaining in importance, whether it involves electronic patient files, online video consultations or any of...

Read more

Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin: C…

Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin supports innovative startups that combine medical knowledge with smart technologies, with special focus on behavior change, diagnostics and genomics, big data and analytics. Startupbootcamp provides mentorship...

Read more

Philips Teams Up with German Startup One…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today announced a partnership agreement with German digital health company Onelife Health to jointly develop innovative connected health...

Read more

EU eHealth Competition 2017

The eHealth Competition is an initiative that rewards the best eHealth / mHealth solutions produced by European SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). Its objective is to support business success of...

Read more

Philips and LabPON Plan to Create World…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) and LabPON, the first clinical laboratory to transition to 100% histopathology digital diagnosis, have announced its plans to create a digital database of massive...

Read more

Use of Mobile App Reduces Number of In-P…

Patients who underwent ambulatory breast reconstruction and used a mobile app for follow-up care had fewer in-person visits during the first 30 days after the operation without affecting complication rates...

Read more

Technology Boost for Health and Social C…

Health and social care organisations aiming to be fully compliant with the government’s Personalised Health and Care 2020 plan, can now access electronic health record (EHR) and healthcare integration technologies...

Read more

Philips Introduces Advanced Radiology So…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, has unveiled new advanced radiology solutions at the 2017 European Congress of Radiology (ECR). In response to today's...

Read more
(HEALTH IT) SPACE - Take a look at who has just Joined