Brain implants may one day boost our abilities to text, drive, communicate and think

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Dennis Degray uses Utah array implants to manipulate the cursor on a computer screen. Image: PBS

An injection of Silicon Valley chutzpah has energised the field of brain-computer or brain-machine interfaces in recent years. Buoyed by BrainGate and other demonstrations, big-name entrepreneurs and companies and scrappy startups are on a quest to develop a new generation of commercial hardware that could ultimately help not only [people] with disabilities, but be used by all of us.

In July Elon Musk … presented details of an implantable wireless system that his company Neuralink is building. It is already being studied in monkeys, Musk revealed, and it is hoped that human trials will start before the end of 2020.

 

None of the three companies sees nonmedical applications in the short term, but argue that the implant technology could gradually branch out into the general population as people start seeing how transformational it can be.

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The most obvious application may be brain-controlled typing. [Synchron founder Tom] Oxley imagines a scenario where people who have grown up texting and typing … lose functionality as they age. … Eventually a tipping point will occur as people see BCIs working better than the human body. …

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Of uses beyond that, no one is being specific. Brain commands to smart speakers? Brain-controlled car driving? Brain-to-brain communication? Enhanced memory and cognition?

Read full, original post: Are brain implants the future of thinking?

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