What is Neurotechnology and Brain-Computer Interface, the tech that Elon Musk’s Neuralink uses?

What is Neurotechnology and Brain-Computer Interface, the tech that Elon Musk’s Neuralink uses?

What is Neurotechnology and Brain-Computer Interface, the tech that Elon Musk’s Neuralink uses?

Depending on what your perspective is about Elon Musk, it seems that we have taken the most giant leap forwards to either a utopian or a dystopian future. Elon Musk, who has been in the headlines for the mess that Twitter is, demoed what one of his other companies, Neuralink has been up to, and boy, was it something to behold. 

What is neurotechnology and Brain-computer interface, the tech that Elon Musk’s Neuralink uses

If everything goes according to Musk’s plan, we have something special here. Neuralink will either emerge as the single most revolutionary invention in the field of modern medicine and biotechnology for decades to come, or, Elon Musk just pulled off another Theranos-like scam. 

Here’s everything that you need to know about Neuralink, what it promises to do, and will it have any impact on the future.

What is Neuralink?
Simply put, Neuralink is one of Elon Musk’s oldest projects. His vision was to create a new interface for humans to interact with computers that would deem all existing interface technologies – using a mouse a keyboard, or touch screens – redundant. His idea was to let humans control a computer just by thought. 

However, in the pursuit of a simple user interface, the engineers at Neuralink went on and achieved something even better. But more on this later.

What is Neurotechnology?
Neurotechnology or Neuron-technology, is the next level of biomechanics and bioelectronics if Musk is to be believed. Simply put, Neurotechnology is a method or electronic device which interfaces with the nervous system to monitor or modulate neural activity. We already have some form of Neurotechnology in our day-to-day lives – cochlear implants and retinal implants that enable deaf patients to hear a little, and blind patients to have some level of sight. However, Musk claims that with the latest developments that Neuralink has made, Neurotechnology will make massive leaps.

What are brain-computer interfaces?
Brain–computer interface or Brain-machine interface, in its most rudimentary form, allows humans to interact with computers just by thought. Although this might seem too farfetched, there have been technologies that has allowed users to interact with computers without any physical I/O device. BCIs have also been used to augment, or repair human cognitive or sensory-motor functions but in a very limited manner. 

What Neuralink and Musk hope to do, is to not just bring this technology to the masses, and improve the quality of life for disabled and impaied individuals, but to enable the step of evolution in humans – with all our implants and medical devices, we already are becoming a hybrid between human and robotics. Neuralink hopes to speed that process up. 

What Musk hopes Neuralink will achieve with their implementation of Neurotechnology?
Neurotechnology and Brain-computer interface are prohibitively expensive. That is why, we only see their application in a limited use. The most common use of this tech involves cochlear implants and retinal implants, but then, they are very limiting and do not really function as a patient would hope them to. With such implants, patients only get a vague sense of what they are trying to perceive. For example, with retinal implants, patients are only able to see a rough shadow of things, with most of the details lost in artefacts. Moreover, they are not able to see colour. Cochlear implants, again, has the same limitations.