There are not many details about the mysterious brain-computer interface from Elon Musk's Neuralink except for the little information the billionaire is sharing via social media now and then, including some of its features.
An Interview With a "Cyborg"
Nathan Copeland is one of the few people who already have a working brain implant. He has been working as a research participant on a research project at the University of Pittsburgh since 2014, headed by researchers Michael Boninger and Andrew Schwartz.
Copeland is paralyzed from the chest down after he broke his spine in an accident.
When asked whether he thinks himself as a "cyborg" for having the brain implants, he said that "in the broadest sense, yes," but that was only because he liked saying nerdy things.
In an interview with MIT Technology Review, Copeland was asked about his thoughts on the Neuralink chip, and he answered by saying it was "cool."
"It seemed like maybe it will work the way they want down the road, but it probably doesn't work that way now," he said.
Copeland also shared that when he first knew that Musk was creating a neural interface, he joked that he would be "there in a heartbeat," but he does find it interesting to think what he would do once he is done with the experiment.
According to him, the FDA said his brain implants might have to be removed after his participation in the research.
More Electrodes Means More Control
Speaking of implants, Copeland also talked about the Neuralink chip's longevity based on the company's announcement and the number of electrodes their chip would have, saying he wished his implants had more wires.
For those who are unaware, the Neuralink chip has dozens of thin wires that will be connected to the brain, making it work wirelessly.
Meanwhile, Copeland's implant consists of four spiky silicone electrode pads called the Utah arrays, which are then connected to sockets sitting atop his head, allowing him to do some tasks such as control robot arms and computers, as well as send sensations to his brain.
"Basically, the more electrodes you have, the more neurons you record from, so I would imagine higher-degree tasks would be easier," Copeland explained. "I am limited to thinking about my right arm and hand. I thought it would be good to have more control."
Would He Sign Up For it?
He also said that he loved playing games and even used his current interface to play games.
And so, Copeland would play games if he ever gets the Neuralink chip, although he is still uncertain whether he would sign up for the implant as he would like to have an in-depth talk with Musk and his team to know what would happen if he gets the chip.
He also believes that there is considerably more risk with the Neuralink chip than his current brain implants, especially when it comes to removing the chip if something goes awry.
The complete interview with Copeland is available here.
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Written by: Nhx Tingson