Elon Musk, already the CEO of two companies, appears ready to embark on his next project: a neural interface melding the human brain with computer technology.
In an interview with the website Wait But Why, the head of Tesla and SpaceX says his latest endeavor — Neuralink — is four years away from introducing its first product to market. The initial version of the Neuralink device would focus on people with severe brain injuries.
“The first use of the technology will be to repair brain injuries as a result of stroke or cutting out a cancer lesion, where somebody’s fundamentally lost a certain cognitive element,” said Musk. “It could help with people who are quadriplegics or paraplegics by providing a neural shunt from the motor cortex down to where the muscles are activated.”
As for when any one can get their own neural interface, Musk notes it could happen 8 to 10 years from now, depending on initial success. “It is important to note that this depends heavily on regulatory approval timing and how well our devices work on people with disabilities.”
The interview notes several hurdles Neuralink will face, including how to get these computer interfaces on to your brain without major surgery. Musk mentions one technique where the interface is placed into an artery like a stent and “ultimately unfolds in the vascular system to interface with the neurons.”
Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported Musk investing in Neuralink, which seeks to create micro-implants of the neural interfaces augmenting the brain with computer assistance.
The neural interface is the latest ambitious project for Musk, who continues churning out electric cars capable of driving themselves at Tesla, and planning to send tourists to Mars. The Wait But Why report says Musk will serve as Neuralink’s CEO.
The subject of brains and computing resurfaced this week during Facebook’s F8…