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Feeling threatened by cyborgs? Don't believe the hype. Researchers at the University of Southern California have simply attached some electrodes to slices of dead rat brain and are wiring them up to an external chip to see what happens. The University of Southern California team hopes that its brain implant will eventually help patients brain-damaged from stroke, epilepsy or Alzheimer's disease. But such systems may not deliver anything remotely practical for years - if ever. Retina implants that allow 'the blind to see' are another particular favourite with the press. Over the last ten years, a couple of these stories have come out A of research pioneered originally at the Johns Hopkins Eye Institute in the US. The implanted blind people have temporarily been able see points of light, shapes, and contrasts between light and dark, as long as they were encumbered with terrifying-looking Heath Robinson contraptions of gadgetry clamped to their heads. This stuff is very worthy but what we read about it can be quite misleading.