The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Elon Musk’s brain-chip company to conduct its first human tests. Scientists are preparing to test brain microchips in humans in order to connect people to computers in an entirely new manner. The microchips are made by a business called Neuralink, which Elon Musk co-founded.
Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering at Leeds Beckett University, Dr. Roz Wyatt-Millington, told Newsround that the technology will be used to connect our brain with the gadgets we use. “The idea is to allow these chips to record the electrical signals that the brain produces, process them in real time – that is as they are produced – and send the information via Bluetooth to an app on a mobile device,” she said. “This would allow people who cannot use their hands to control their mobile.
The brain is a very sensitive organ, thus anything linked to or placed inside it must be done with considerable caution.That is why Neuralink has spent so much time evaluating it. Dr Roz explained: “The technology is based on years of research into what we call the brain-machine interface – that is devices that allow a digital device to communicate directly with the brain. It will have to go through full clinical trials so by the time it is available generally it will be deemed to be safe for use in humans.”
Neuralink intends to use its microchips to heal illnesses including paralysis and blindness, as well as to assist certain impaired people in using computers and mobile technologies. The chips, which have been tested on monkeys, are intended to decode brain signals and transfer information to gadgets through Bluetooth.
A paralysed Dutchman was able to walk simply by thinking about it, thanks to a set of implants that wirelessly transmitted his thoughts to his legs and feet.
The goal with this project is to essentially “connect humans and computers.”