You know the scene. A cable plugged into his skull; Neo has a heap of martial arts combat 'uploaded' to his brain.
"I know kung fu", he mutters, like a throaty tit.
"Show me," flirts Morpheus.
Unlikely as it sounds, this what a team from HRL Laboratories have managed to do. Sort of.
The California-based team of Dr Matthew Phillips used something called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in order to "amplify" learning and skill retention: by monitoring the electrical activity in the brains of real pilots, they stimulated these same currents in the brains of six subjects learning to fly a plane.
Published in February's issue of the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the study found that subjects who received brain stimulation via electrode-embedded head caps improved their piloting abilities with a 33 per cent improvement over a placebo test group who didn't have their brains stimulated.
"Our system is one of the first of its kind. It's a brain stimulation system," Dr Phillips told The Telegraph. "It sounds kind of sci-fi, but there's large scientific basis for the development of our system. When you learn something, your brain physically changes. Connections are made and strengthened in a process called neuro-plasticity.
"It turns out that certain functions of the brain, like speech and memory, are located in very specific regions of the brain, about the size of your pinky."
No, you won't be learning kung fu in the blink of an eye any time soon, but the HRL team is confident the technique could be implemented for tasks including learning to drive, learning a new language and even exam prep. Check it out in action in the video below.
[Via: The Telegraph]