A Step Closer Towards BCI

Mentally controlling devices and making them work the way you want them to has always seemed a thing of the very distant future. But SpaceX and Tesla founder, Elon Musk seems to have a very different timeline altogether.

Brain-computer interface (BCI) is a collaboration between a brain and a device that enables signals from the brain to direct some external activity, such as control of a cursor or a prosthetic limb. The interface enables a direct communications pathway between the brain and the object to be controlled. In the case of cursor control, for example, the signal is transmitted directly from the brain to the mechanism directing the cursor, rather than taking the normal route through the body’s neuromuscular system from the brain to the finger on a mouse.

Neuralink, the highly secretive company founded by Elon Musk two years ago, recently gained widespread media attention. According to him, human minds need to plug into the Internet so that our species can keep up with AI. Previously, experimental brain interfaces have been used to let paralyzed humans move cursors and robotic arms with their thoughts, to try to listen in to their speech.

The company may be using what’s called a neural “sewing machine” to inject flexible wire electrodes into an animal’s brain and then record from a very large number of neurons at once. They may also consider using new computer chipsets that can simplify the flood of information crackling out of the brain or send the data off the skull wirelessly, which would do away with cables. Currently, experimental brain-machine interfaces employ stiff metal electrodes; one called the Utah Array consists of about 100 sharp needles carved from silicon, fired into the brain with an air gun. These are superb for picking up electrical signals from neurons as they fire, but they can damage tissue and stop working after a while. That’s led Neuralink to explore fine, ultra-thin electrodes made from carbon fiber or polymers—but they’re so wiggly that they’re hard to implant. The first generation of Neuralink’s technology consists of a chip containing neuron-size polymer threads that a surgical robot would stitch into the brain to record electrical signals from neurons and convey them to a wireless device worn behind the ear.

Neuralink briefly presented some of its first rodent data from ultrasmall electrodes. The company aims to implant electrodes into a person paralysed by spinal cord injury by the end of 2020. But the firm will need clearance from the U.S. FDA to perform such an experiment in the United States.

So, the future does hold a lot of excitement! займ наличными без проверки ки

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