Tech billionaire Elon Musk has promised an “awesome’ update to the brain-computer interface technology being built by his side startup Neuralink.
To help paralyzed people control devices and empower people with brain disorders, Neuralink last year unveiled tiny brain “threads” in a chip that is long-lasting, usable at home and has the potential to replace cumbersome devices currently used as brain-machine interfaces.
On a Twitter thread from noted tech investor Cathie Wood, Musk said on Sunday the technology could be tested in a human patient with brain or spinal cord injuries as early as this year, CNET reported on Tuesday.
“The profound impact of high bandwidth, high precision neural interfaces is underappreciated. Neuralink may have this in a human as soon as this year,” Musk tweeted.
“Wait until you see the next version vs what was presented last year. It’s awesome,” he added.
The technology has a module that sits outside the head, behind the ear, and receives information from “threads” embedded in the brain.
Controlled by an iPhone app, the chip called “N1 sensor” with just a USB port coming out can have as many as 3,072 electrodes per array distributed across 96 “threads” — each “thread” smaller than the tiniest human hair.
The chip which will be wireless in the future can read, transmit high-volume data and amplify signals from the brain.
“This has the potential to solve several brain-related diseases. The idea is to understand and treat brain disorders, preserve and enhance your own brain and create a well-aligned future,” Musk told the audience at the launch event last year.