Entrepreneur Elon Musk has announced that his secretive neurotechnology startup, Neuralink, has developed “threads” which are designed to link a human brain to a computer, according to The Independent.
While the technology will initially be used to help paraplegics control computers through implanted chips in their brains, the potential implications suggest that it could one day change and improve the way humans think and communicate.
Musk said the chip will help “preserve and enhance your own brain” and “ultimately achieve a sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence”. At an event in San Francisco, he revealed that the system was already being tested on a monkey, which had “controlled a computer using its brain”.
The tiny chip connects to the brain through threads, which are almost imperceptible to the human eye and thinner than a human hair.
Neuralink intends to first apply the technology to assist paraplegic people, though it is expected to branch out to help treat epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and potentially even provide “rich visual feedback to the blind”.
Neuralink said that it plans to begin clinical trials next year and developed a robotic system to implant the threads into the brain. They hope that the procedure will one day be as efficient as laser eye surgery.