Elon Musk has announced plans to test a 'brain chip' on humans in six months, after his team trained a monkey to 'type' a message and charge batteries.
Musk shared a public update on his company Neuralink, which has been working on brain-computer interfaces for some years.
In a video demo, the test monkeys—famous for playing Pong using the power of thought in 2021—help to 'type' a welcome message to viewers and even charge up the brain chip device by drinking a banana smoothie under a battery charger.
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The demo was part of a three-hour presentation at Neuralink HQ, where Musk explained that the company hoped to begin clinical trials in 2023.
Musk described the Neuralink chips as small devices which can implanted into the brain. He said: "It's like replacing a piece of your skull with a smartwatch, for lack of a better analogy."
Musk also said the company has now completed most of the process to get approval for human clinical trials in the USA, and hopes to conduct these in 2023.
However, this timeline should be taken with a pinch of salt as Musk has prior form for overpromising and underdelivering. He previously said human trials would start in 2020, then 2022.
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Musk added: "The progress at first, particularly as it applies to humans, will seem perhaps agonizingly slow, but we are doing all of the things to bring it to scale in parallel. So in theory, progress should be exponential."
Neuralink will initially focus its efforts on restoring vision to people with blindness or sight issues, and enabling disabled people to move muscles they otherwise can't.
Musk said "even if someone has never had vision, ever, like they were born blind, we believe we can still restore vision."
The latest Neuralink announcements come a year after Musk shared a video of a monkey using one of the chips to play Pong with its mind.
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