Scifi writer Jon Wallace considers whether implants will unlock some hidden human potential – or do irreparable damage to our existence Last month, The Engineer reported on progress towards bionic eye implants. An array of silicon nanowires arranged in an electrode grid, implanted behind the retina and linked to a wireless device, has potential to restore sight. Once again engineering news astounds and delights – the scifi eye given life. Technological implants play a solid role in science fiction as a crucial component of the idea of the ‘transhuman’: that is, an evolutionary

leap that sees mankind combine with technology to alter its perception and abilities.Interest in implants tends particularly towards the neural interface: as science has come to understand consciousness as more a product of the brain’s complex functions (as opposed to the awareness granted an immortal soul), so science fiction has explored the fascinating prospect of tampering with our brain’s computing. READ MORE