Controlling computers directly with your brain is no longer an exercise in science fiction. Elon Musk plans to turn this future possibility into a reality by 2020.
There have been plenty of science fiction movies around the idea of humans and robots coming together in the future, and few of them end well for the humans. However, a recent advance by Elon Musk and a team of researchers and scientists formed a new organization called Neuralink to explore the possibilities that are offered in the field of medicine with a faster and more secure interface between humans and machines. From helping individuals expand the functionality of prosthetic limbs to robotically implanting this type of tech in the brain, the future is wide open in terms of potential integrations between humans and machines.
What is a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)?
Creating a direct connection between your brain and some external output device is not as far-fetched as it sounds, and is already occuring in a limited way for paralyzed patients who are moving robotic arms or otherwise interacting with the physical world through a brain implant. However, today’s solutions are relatively intrusive while the Neuralink solution presented by Elon Musk will be much less invasive for human patients in the future. Current designs show incredibly thin threads that can be implanted deep within the tissue of your brain with an external transmitter that provides speedy relays of high volumes of information. These microprocessors are attached outside of the body in order to communicate effectively with computers.
Practical Applications of BCI
At least to start, the practical applications are likely to be in the medical field with amputees receiving an interface that allows them to more rapidly control prosthetics or provide enhanced vision or hearing. With their release of information and strategies to the public, Neuralink is looking to expand their reach into the research community and encourage others to join them — essentially making their announcement of the new functionality a recruiting tool. While future iterations will utilize lasers to create a precise placement of threads, the current implementation of a Neuralink requires drilling into the skull of a patient. With a hands-free technology that allows a wider range of motion for individuals without the annoyance of wires, this type of solution is likely to be embraced once testing is complete over the next several years.
It’s impossible to know where this type of technology will lead. For now, Elon Musk’s Neuralink still has a long way to go before it would be ready for widespread distribution but it’s likely that the tech company will overcome hurdles quickly. Keeping your technology in full working order is a top requirement for your IT services team at Alvarez Technology Group. Our technical experts work with organizations of all sizes throughout the Monterey and Salinas area. Contact us today at 831-200-8167 to schedule your free initial consultation.