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Neuralink, a technology that is designed to allow people to control devices by detecting and transmitting their brainwaves, has taken a significant step closer to becoming a practical reality.
January 30, 2024
The company is owned by tech visionary Elon Musk, who didn’t go to all the trouble of buying X (Twitter) only to resort to old-school press releases. Neuralink announced the commencement of clinical trials towards the end of last year and now Musk informs us via X that the first of them seems to be going well.
While the initial stated uses of this very novel technology are to enable severely movement restricted people to better interact with the outside world, the long-term possibilities would appear to be limitless. Just the thought of writing this story entirely with the power of the mind, as opposed to fingers and keyboard, is dizzying. Then again, getting a brain implant just to save a bit of typing does seem an extreme move, for now, not least because it needs to be implanted by a robot.
If the device also required a permanent wired connection from your head to a machine, that would be another major reason to give it a miss unless you have no alternative. Musk et al anticipated this and, as noted by Light Reading when the trials were announced, has included Bluetooth connectivity in the module to allow the wireless transmission of brain signals. While BT is the default for short distance device-to-device connectivity, the absence of cellular connectivity still feels like a missed opportunity for the telecoms industry.
The world will be watching the development of these clinical trials with great interest. They’re called PRIME, a typically forced acronym that stands for Precise, Robotically Implanted brain-computer interfacE. For all the many flirtations with VR, there hasn’t really been a major breakthrough in the brain-computer interface since the invention of the mouse. If this technology is proven to be viable it could catalyse the development a whole new set of industries.
As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno
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