Neuralink is designing the Link to connect to thousands of neurons in the brain, so that it may one day be able to record the activity of these neurons, process these signals in real time, and translate intended movements directly into the control of an external device. As a first application of our technology, they hope to help people with quadriplegia by giving them the ability to control computers and mobile devices directly with their thoughts.
The US clinical first trials for therapeutic purposes will take at least six years.
They would start by recording neural activity in the brain’s movement areas. As users think about moving their arms or hands, they would decode those intentions, which would be sent over Bluetooth to the user’s computer. Users would initially learn to control a virtual mouse. Later, as users get more practice and our adaptive decoding algorithms continue to improve, they expect that users would be able to control multiple devices, including a keyboard or a game controller.
The first application will enable people with quadriplegia to control a point-and-click computer cursor. They believe there are many other potential future applications for the Link. These may include restoring motor, sensory, and visual function, as well as treatment of neurological disorders.
Ten to Twenty Years for Non-Medical Applications
Neuralink is currently focused on developing medical devices. They believe these devices have the potential to help people with a wide range of injuries and neurological disorders, and we hope to develop treatments for many of these conditions in the coming years. They expect that as the devices continue to scale, and as they learn to communicate with more areas of the brain, they will discover new, non-medical applications for our BCIs. Neuralink’s long-term vision is to create BCIs that are sufficiently safe and powerful that the general population would want to have them.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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