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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Connecting Computers to the Brain: Update NeuraLink

Had heard of this some time ago.   Apparently this updates.   Still skeptical as to what the word 'connecting' means here.  We can read brain signals readily, but can we control things that way?   Look forward to see more.  No comments from the pigs.  Suggest some caution before you volunteer

Elon Musk is one step closer to connecting a computer to your brain

Neuralink has demonstrated a prototype of its brain-machine interface that currently works in pigs.
By Rebecca Heilweil  in Vox

At a Friday event, Elon Musk revealed more details about his mysterious neuroscience company Neuralink and its plans to connect computers to human brains. While the development of this futuristic-sounding tech is still in its early stages, the presentation was expected to demonstrate the second version of a small, robotic device that inserts tiny electrode threads through the skull and into the brain. Musk said ahead of the event he would “show neurons firing in real-time. The matrix in the matrix.”

And he did just that. At the event, Musk showed off several pigs that had prototypes of the neural links implanted in their head, and machinery that was tracking those pigs’ brain activity in real time. The billionaire also announced that the Food and Drug Administration had awarded the company a breakthrough device authorization, which can help expedite research on a medical device.

Like building underground car tunnels and sending private rockets to Mars, this Musk-backed endeavor is incredibly ambitious, but Neuralink builds on years of research into brain-machine interfaces. A brain-machine interface is technology that allows for a device, like a computer, to interact and communicate with a brain. Neuralink, in particular, aims to build an incredibly powerful brain-machine interface, a device with the power to handle lots of data that can be inserted in a relatively simple surgery. Its short-term goal is to build a device that can help people with specific health conditions.

The actual status of Neuralink’s research has been somewhat murky, and Friday’s big announcement happened as ex-employees complain of internal chaos at the company. Musk has already said the project allowed a monkey to control a computer device with its mind, and as the New York Times reported in 2019, Neuralink had demonstrated a system with 1,500 electrodes connected to a lab rat. Since then, Musk has hinted at the company’s progress (at times on Twitter), though those involved have generally been close-lipped about the status of the research.  .... " 

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