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Funding Goal
Base Goal: $3000
Progress So Far: $116
Stretch Goal: $2,000
Progress So Far: $0

Updated: 2017-01-14 --martyb

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posted by martyb on Friday September 13, @10:40PM   Printer-friendly

test story on which to hang comments to try and validate filters

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday July 17, @06:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the dept.

Elon Musk's Neuralink plans 2020 human test of brain-computer interface

"A monkey has been able to control a computer with his brain," CEO Musk says of his startup's brain-machine interface.

July 16, 2019 11:13 PM PDT

Neuralink's N1 sensor, a few millimeters across, can connect to 1,024 tiny probes laced into the interior of a brain. The sensor chip is embedded under the skin and links to a wearable device behind the ear.

Neuralink; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Neuralink, Elon Musk's startup that's trying to directly link brains and computers, has developed a system to feed thousands of electrical probes into a brain and hopes to start testing the technology on humans in in 2020, Chief Executive Elon Musk revealed Tuesday.

And it's working already in animal tests. "A monkey has been able to control a computer with his brain," Musk said at a San Francisco live-streaming the presentation on YouTube Tuesday, revealing even more research results than the company's scientists expected.

Now playing: Watch this: Elon Musk’s Neuralink wants to hook your brain to a computer...


Neuralink's initial goal is to help people deal with brain and spinal-cord injuries or congenital defects, Musk said. The technology could help paraplegics who have lost the ability to move or sense because of spinal cord injury -- a medical treatment that's a lot less shocking than radical sci-fi ideas like "consensual telepathy." 

But the long-term goal is to build a "digital superintelligence layer" to link humans with artificial intelligence, a technology he views as an existential threat to humanity.

"Ultimately, we can do a full brain-machine interfaces where we can achieve a sort of symbiosis with AI," Musk said. One goal along the way will be letting people type 40 words per minute just by thinking.

Neuralink envisions up to brain-connected chips and accompanying communication wires placed under the skin. A data-transfer system would then link to a wearable, removable pod behind the ear that communicates wirelessly with external devices like a phone or computer.

Neuralink; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Neuralink has the potential to dramatically reshape both computing and humanity -- if it and like-minded researchers can persuade regulators and society at large that we should be directly wired to machines. That's a big if. The challenges are immense when it comes to developing the technology, making it practical and affordable, and convincing people it's safe and desirable.

The startup uses sewing machine-like technology revealed earlier this year to drill small holes into brains and thread electrodes inside, steering clear of blood vessels as they go.

"We hope to have this, aspirationally, in a human patient by the end of this year. So it's not far," Musk said. He acknowledged, though, that approval from the US Food and Drug Administration "is quite difficult."

Brain-machine interface (BMI) technology is active research at other competitors and laboratories. But some worry that Neuralink's invasive method is risky.

Today, some epilepsy patients have dozens of wires inserted to monitor brain activity, said Bin He, head of biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and a researcher who favors noninvasive methods. "In the general population, I could not see how many of such inserted wires into a human's brain would not cause risks or potentially impair the working of the brain," He said.

Noninvasive methods not only can read brain activity but also stimulate it. That's easier at the surface, but new breakthroughs show promise for communications with neurons deeper in the brain, He said.

Even if Neuralink's approach works, don't expect to download the ability to speak French anytime soon. Even Neuralink's first goals are ambitious, and training to brain to understand the Neuralink signals won't be easy, either, Neuralink President and co-founder Max Hodak said. "It's a long process. It's like learning to touch type or play piano," he said. 

Thousands of electrodes implanted by robot

Neuralink's robot is shown here implanting electrodes that are about a quarter the width of a human hair.

Neuralink; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

With Neuralink's approach, a robot inserts tiny threads a quarter the width of a human hair. "The threads are about the same size as a neuron," Musk said. "If you're going to stick something in your brain, you want it to be tiny -- approximately on par with the things that are already there."

A "wisp" of 1,024 threads attach to a small chip, up to 10 of which will be embedded under your skin. Each will connect wirelessly to a wearable, detachable, upgradable "pod" behind your ear that communicates wirelessly with a phone. "The interface to the chip is wireless so you have no wires poking out of your head. It basically Bluetooths to your phone," Musk said.

The installation takes place through holes 2mm wide, temporarily expanded to 8mm, then glued shut, Musk said. Among the company's challenges are developing electrodes that will last "many decades," but "getting the right coatings is a tough materials science problem." The human brain is not a hospitable environment.

Electrodes read and write brain data

Neuralink is designing its electrodes not just to "read" from neurons what's going on in the brain, but also to "write" signals into the brain. "You can use this technology in the brain to restore a sense of touch or vision," said Neuralink scientist Philip Sabes.

Connections to the motor-control parts of the brain also could help people with brain disorders, Sabes said.

Neuralink's N1 sensor chip, measuring 4x5mm in its present incarnation, can detect spikes of neural activity and send signals back to the brain.

Neuralink; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

"A person could imagine running, dancing or even kung fu," Sabes said, with the Neuralink connection controlling their 3D avatar in a digital realm. "Ultimately, if and when technology for spinal cord nerve or muscle stimulation gets far enough, it could be used to restore that individual's control over their own body."

Neuralink hopes its procedure will be safe and easy enough that people will choose to undergo it. "This should be safe enough that it can be an elective procedure," said company neurosurgeon Matthew MacDougall.

In tests so far, "We've been able to rapidly place thousands of electrodes into the brain without any bleeding," MadDougall said. That's because the electrodes are small -- far smaller than current deep-brain stimulation electrodes that currently come with about a 1 in 100 risk of causing bleeding in the brain, he said.

Now playing: Watch this: Controlling electronics with your mind!


In an era dominated by tech giants that have succeeded through computing hardware, software and services, Musk stands out as an entrepreneur who's got a knack for other parts of the physical world -- things like electricity, rocks and gravity. 

Musk is pretty busy. He's got Tesla, which makes electric cars and trucks, massive electric power storage batteries and solar roofs. He's got SpaceX, which is launching satellites -- including its own set for providing internet service -- and is working on rockets to get people to orbit, Mars and the other side of Earth. Then there's the Boring Company, which is trying to create tunnels to relieve automobile congestion on ordinary roads.

Neuralink brings the squishier, immensely complicated realm of biology into Musk's purview. Human brains are famously hard to understand, though computer scientists at companies like Facebook and Google are progressing rapidly at emulating some of how they work through technology called neural networks, the most practical and promising foundation for today's artificial intelligence work. One of the most useful aspects of that research is getting computers to understand humans better by processing human speech.

But as with Musk's other projects, he sees Neuralink as important to civilization.

"Even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind. Hopefully it is a benign scenario," where superintelligent AIs surpass but don't wipe out humans, Musk said. "With a high-bandwidth brain-machine interface, I think we can go along for the ride and effectively have the option of merging with AI."

First published July 16, 8:41 p.m. PT.

Update, 11:13 p.m. PT to add further details, images and background.

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Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday June 22, @12:04AM   Printer-friendly
20190622a - test story to hang comments off of and play with comment moderation
posted by martyb on Monday February 18 2019, @02:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the Is-this-thing-on? dept.

This is the line from the submit comment page:


Comment with examples of each of these tags in use.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Thursday November 15 2018, @10:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the teste-test dept.
Now this'ere's a test. Article with linked poll.
posted by chromas on Tuesday October 23 2018, @03:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the (.Y.) dept.

Wasn't sure if "Main Page" nexus needs to be checked.

It does not.

systemd is great
posted by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 16 2018, @08:29AM   Printer-friendly
from the foo-bar-baz-bot dept.

this is a paragraph

this is a second paragraph

with a labeled spoiler tag

and some more text

posted by chromas on Saturday August 25 2018, @10:31PM   Printer-friendly
from the teehee dept.
posted by martyb on Tuesday May 01 2018, @07:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the department_text dept.
20180501_110533 UTC New story submitted using 'new' on admin bar and clicking immediately on 'save' button.. this is the "Intro Copy"
This is the "Extended Copy"
posted by martyb on Monday April 09 2018, @06:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the ? dept.

This is a test story on which there is to be a sufficient number of comments to cause them to spill onto a subsequent page.

The intent is to have a place to experiment with ways to better call out that pagination has occurred.

This in response to a problem reported by a user where they thought their comment had disappeared.

:: Specify cookie first, otherwise, the chain of invocations ends up defaulting to martyb:
CALL SN_API_cookies "cookies.martyb.txt"

:: This is the story we want to post comments to:
CALL SN_API_story_URL ""

:: Non-subscribers need to wait 10s after getting reskey before they can post a comment;
:: Subscribers do not need to wait:
CALL SN_API_comment_sleep 0s

SET sn

CALL comment 0000
SET sn
   CALL comment 0001 --reply-to 0000
      CALL comment 0002 --reply-to 0001
         CALL comment 0003 --reply-to 0002
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CALL comment 0015
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Original Submission