Elon Musk has revealed that his startup, Neuralink, has been making great progress on its interface which aims to link brains with computers and announced that they plan to test it on people by next year.
Neuralink revealed the successful progress of its futuristic project at an event in San Fransisco where companies could recruit new talent in robotics, software and neuroscience, among many others.
“Ultimately, we can do a full brain-machine interface… Achieve a sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence,” said Musk.
The startup revealed an early prototype of its tiny sensor which comprised of hair-thin strands that could be implanted into the brain through a small robot built for high-precision tasks.
“They are tiny electrodes and the robot is delicately implanting them,” he said.
He continued, “This is something that is not going to be stressful to put in; will work well, and it is wireless.”
He also noted that it is actually possible to have thousands of electrodes connected to a human brain.
The company’s most immediate goal is to test it on a human brain whereby the person will be able to control a smartphone mentally, but they hope to extend this technology to other devices that could be used for health purposes such as robotic arms.
The chip is meant to communicate wirelessly through an earpiece which then relays information to the app.
“This has tremendous potential,” said Musk.
“We hope to have this in a human patient before the end of next year.”
Indeed, they are focusing on the use of this technology to address paralysis and brain diseases but they still need to make sure that implants are safe, reliable and easy. Musk’s goal is to make brain-enhancing implants which will potentially be as straightforward as a laser eye surgery.
“I’ve said a lot about AI over the years; I think that even in a benign scenario, we will be left behind. With a high bandwidth brain-machine interface, we can actually go for the ride and have the option of merging with AI. This is very important.”