Elon Musk’s secretive start-up, Neuralink, is progressing with its work on an interface that links the brain with computers, and the testing for it on people may begin next year, as revealed by him late on Tuesday.
The progress that has been made on the project was revealed by Musk and the Neuralink team members at an event in San Francisco, which was held to recruit talent in neuroscience, software, robotics and other fields.
An early version of a tiny sensor with hair-thin strands was unveiled by Neuralink, which, with the help of a robot built for high-precision tasks, can be implanted in the brain through a small incision.
According to Neuralink, wireless communication between the chip and the earpiece will relay the information to a smartphone application.
Currently, the technology is being developed with the goal of enabling a person with the implants to control a smartphone with their thoughts, but its application areas could be extended to other devices, such as robotic arms.
Musk said, “This has tremendous potential.”
He further added, “We hope to have this in a human patient before the end of next year.”
A neurosurgeon on the Neuralink team mentioned that they are currently focusing on developing and using this technology to manage brain diseases and paralysis, but the long-term goal is to make these implants so safe and reliable that these could be used by people to enhance their brain with computing power.
“Ultimately, we can do a full brain–machine interface.”, Musk said.