In thinking of a ‘natural medium for storage and transmitting knowledge’ my initial notion was a design which could store and recall our thoughts and memories, as we frequently rush through life without really experiencing events. There are times when I’ve had a great weekend and someone asks, ‘how was your weekend?’ on Monday, and I can’t recall what happened for a minute or two. If it involved great experiences, maybe I can retrieve that memory and feeling and experience it once more. Like being absorbed in a daydream, when some random thought invokes a happy memory that causes you to laugh out loud and feel happy? So often we recall negative experiences and it is so powerful, it overrides our positive experiences. One bad comment in a string of wonderful compliments can sometimes make us feel terrible, despite the nice words.
Today’s rapidly advancing technology, combined with our fast paced lives, is removing us from our experiences more and more each day. People are losing their ability to connect in a natural way, unaided by technology. I would consider conversation, physical touch, and exchanging thoughts and emotions a natural way of connecting. This exchange creates brainwaves, neurotransmitters, and physical reactions within each person. These emotional connections are lost when we communicate via the written word. Tones can not always be safely implied, nor sentiments easily concluded. These emotional connections are an essential human need. We need connection to survive. All of these ideas led me to the idea that an experience storage and retrieval system would be highly beneficial for humanity. If we could recall feelings and experience them again, we could re-experience our positive experiences and lessen the effects of negative ones. Granted, if we continue to communicate solely through mobile phones and computers, the natural connection isn’t there. However, we could recall a feeling we had during a vacation, a lovely interaction, or even the joy felt while playing with puppies.
DESIGN FOR MEMORY AND EMOTION STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL
Storage: Microchips are implanted in a person’s brain, possibly in the hippocampus and/or hypothalamus.
When an experience occurs that creates a positive emotional response, such as releasing endorphins, the microchip records the memory and emotional response synthesized through storing neurotransmitter reactions alongside the visual memory.
One could store a recent experience by consciously thinking ‘record this event’ or through a physical action (like touching the left thumb and pinky together for two seconds), and the microchip would begin storing the memory.
These events can also be downloaded to a personal hard drive which could be accessed NFC. By sitting near this hard drive, new events stored will instantly be synced to the hard drive and backed up. One may also access these events by connecting the hard drive to a computer, which, with the accompanying software, will be able to organize the events by level of endorphins released, or general happiness, as well as date and time, for easier retrieval.
Retrieval: The recorded events can be accessed by closing one’s eyes and recalling the memory of a saved experience. This action would recreate the visual pattern of the stored memory. The microchip would search for the matching pattern, like a computer searches for a specific phrase in a document. This retrieves the recorded memory and neurotransmitters released, thereby allowing the user to feel the endorphin release once more.
This instant trigger can be helpful to many people. For example, people with depression or anxiety could recall these positive experiences, rather than an unknown, overwhelming negative feeling. The natural release of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters is much better and not addicting. This is advantageous to drugs which only mimic the neurotransmitters, but adversely affect the brain as they artificially alter brainwaves and function. Over time this artificial elevation of neurotransmitters damages the natural ability of the brain to create them on its own.
Design: The microchips are tiny, with no visual design as they are imperceptible to the human eye.
The hard drive’s design and color can be chosen from several shapes and colors, in order for this personal device to be customized. It would be made of titanium, or other indestructible material, accessible only by the user’s proximity and thoughts.
The software stores the brain waves and levels of endorphins, etc, as a music recording software stores information in corresponding waves on separate lines for vocals, guitars, keyboard, etc. The visual memory is stored in a pattern, which is only visible inside the user’s brain. Below this pattern, the corresponding neurotransmitters and the levels that are released are saved in line with the memory. This information is accessible by date/time or by level of positive emotion created.