Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk announces his latest venture-- Neuralink, a startup with the lofty ambition to develop technology able to connect human brains to the cloud.
But how would one connect brains to computers? According to a Wall Street Journal report, the answer lies in the "neural lace." Developed using nanotechnology, the neural lace consists of small electrodes implanted in the skull to form an electrode footprint able to monitor part, if not all, of the brain.
Wearers of such a neural lace, the theory goes, will be able to upload thoughts to and from the cloud via computer interface. Either way it all sounds very similar to the "cyberbrain," the mind-machine interface seen in the science fiction manga/anime series "Ghost in the Shell."
However, initially Neuralink will be focusing on more down to earth research topics-- namely chronic conditions such as epilepsy and depression. After all, the company is registered as a medical research entitiy in the state of California.
Of course, creating such technology is incredibly complicated. Landon Center on Aging at the University of Kansas Medical Center director Randolph Nado tells Live Science electrodes implanted in the brain stop working after a few months due to the buildup of scar tissue degrading electrical tissue.
Then there's the problem with the amount of electrodes required-- presumably millions. The best current examples of brain implants, used to bridge brain communication gaps following brain injury or stroke, have up to 128 electrodes connecting with neurons in the sensory or motor cortex.
"Not only do you have the risk to the patient of infections and so on, the device may not last a lifetime," Nudo remarks.
At the moment Neuralink remains silent on its ambitions, as Elon Musk has simply confirmed initial reports on the startup via Twitter. That said, brain-machine interfaces are surely the next frontier in technology, as even Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has a secret research division dedicated to the topic.