Elon Musk unveils Neuralink’s plans for brain-reading ‘threads’ and a robot to insert them


Not for humans yet

The proposed future technology Neuralink intends to make, a module that sits outside the head and wirelessly receives information from threads embedded in the brain. Photo: Neuralink

Elon Musk’s Neuralink, the secretive company developing brain-machine interfaces, showed off some of the technology it has been developing to the public for the first time. The goal is to eventually begin implanting devices in paralyzed humans, allowing them to control phones or computers.

The first big advance is flexible “threads,” which are less likely to damage the brain than the materials currently used in brain-machine interfaces. These threads also create the possibility of transferring a higher volume of data, according to a white paper credited to “Elon Musk & Neuralink.” The abstract notes that the system could include “as many as 3,072 electrodes per array distributed across 96 threads.”

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Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”


MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that can transcribe words that the user verbalizes internally but does not actually speak aloud.

The system consists of a wearable device and an associated computing system. Electrodes in the device pick up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalizations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye. The signals are fed to a machine-learning system that has been trained to correlate particular signals with particular words.

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Amprius raises $30 million to develop high-energy silicon batteries

The startup, Amprius is working on a new type of long-lasting lithium-ion batteries for laptops and electric vehicles. The company has started to sell its batteries for use in portable electronics. Amprius recently raised $30 million in venture capital to develop its next-generation batteries, which use high-energy silicon electrodes. The company says the batteries will store about 50 percent more energy than the battery cells in today’s electric vehicles.



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Scientists create electrode that lets you taste virtual food on your tongue

The same research team is also working on a digital lollipop.

In Sword Art Online, an anime series, gamers take part in a virtual world that is teeming with danger, but also with food. What if such an experience was a reality? What if you could not only interact with food in a virtual environment, but also actually taste it? Scientists at the National University of Singapore have developed a new electrode that could be the first step in making that happen. (Video)



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Researchers develop ‘smart paint’ that monitors structural damage


Dr Mohamed Saafi and David McGahon have developed a smart paint that can detect microscopic faults in large structures.

Researchers have developed a ‘smart paint’ able to detect tiny faults before damage can occur, and at a fraction of the cost of current methods.

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