STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Elon Musk is making implants to link the brain with a smartphone

Elon Musk wants to insert Bluetooth-enabled implants into your brain, claiming the devices could enable telepathy and repair motor function in people with in...

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 3:31 AM
Updated: Jul 18, 2019 3:36 AM

Elon Musk wants to insert Bluetooth-enabled implants into your brain, claiming the devices could enable telepathy and repair motor function in people with injuries.

Speaking on Tuesday, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX said his Neuralink devices will consist of a tiny chip connected to 1,000 wires measuring one-tenth the width of a human hair.

The chip features a USB-C port, the same adapter used by Apple's Macbooks, and connects via Bluebooth to a small computer worn over the ear and to a smartphone, Musk said.

"If you're going to stick something in a brain, you want it not to be large," Musk said, playing up the device's diminutive size.

Neuralink, a startup founded by Musk, says the devices can be used by those seeking a memory boost or by stroke victims, cancer patients, quadriplegics or others with congenital defects.

The company says up to 10 units can be placed in a patient's brain. The chips will connect to an iPhone app that the user can control.

The devices will be installed by a robot built by the startup. Musk said the robot, when operated by a surgeon, will drill 2 millimeter holes in a person's skull. The chip part of the device will plug the hole in the patient's skull.

"The interface to the chip is wireless, so you have no wires poking out of your head. That's very important," Musk added.

Trials could start before the end of 2020, Musk said, likening the procedure to Lasik eye correction surgery, which requires local anesthetic.

Musk has said this latest project is an attempt to use artificial intelligence (AI) to have a positive effect on humanity. He has previously tried to draw attention to AI's potential to harm humans.

He has invested some $100 million in San Francisco-based Neuralink, according to the New York Times.

Musk's plan to develop human computer implants comes on the heels of similar efforts by Google and Facebook. But critics aren't so sure customers should trust tech companies with data ported directly from the brain.

"The idea of entrusting big enterprise with our brain data should create a certain level discomfort for society," said Daniel Newman, principal analyst at Futurum Research and co-author of the book Human/Machine.

"There is no evidence that we should trust or be comfortable with moving in this direction," he added.

While the technology could help those with some type of brain injury or trauma, "Gathering data from raw brain activity could put people in great risk, and could be used to influence, manipulate and exploit them," Frederike Kaltheuner of Privacy International told CNN Business. "Who has access to this data? Is this data shared with third parties? People need to be in full control over their data."

The tech industry is coming under heightened scrutiny over how it handles data.

France fined Google parent company Alphabet in January for violating EU online privacy rules. Facebook reportedly faces a major fine in the United States over its own data privacy violations.

Tesla has also suffered data leaks. In 2018, researchers at security firm RedLock said Tesla's cloud storage was breached to mine cryptocurrency.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 22022

Reported Deaths: 375
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah505698
Washington320227
Marion300573
Umatilla234231
Clackamas159547
Malheur83914
Deschutes61710
Lane6063
Jackson4992
Yamhill47413
Lincoln4219
Union3952
Jefferson3794
Morrow3783
Polk33012
Linn30311
Hood River2050
Klamath2042
Wasco1953
Benton1786
Douglas1591
Josephine1282
Columbia1020
Coos910
Clatsop890
Crook501
Baker420
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa201
Curry170
Sherman160
Harney110
Gilliam40
Grant40
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 591376

Reported Deaths: 10753
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2142835112
Riverside43376824
Orange41823745
San Bernardino38290555
San Diego33157602
Kern25179183
Fresno17978191
Alameda14112209
San Joaquin13870235
Santa Clara12962207
Sacramento12274179
Tulare11643205
Stanislaus10855177
Contra Costa10103149
Imperial9919252
Ventura874093
San Francisco783467
Santa Barbara707473
San Mateo6535122
Merced610274
Monterey562839
Marin547181
Kings506762
Solano433841
Sonoma382551
Madera259040
Placer237724
San Luis Obispo230017
Yolo189845
Santa Cruz13166
Butte12808
Napa114211
Sutter10197
El Dorado7852
San Benito7674
Lassen6830
Yuba6784
Mendocino47810
Shasta46910
Glenn4363
Colusa3975
Nevada3571
Tehama3041
Humboldt2934
Lake2532
Amador19510
Calaveras1611
Mono1601
Tuolumne1592
Inyo1135
Siskiyou1060
Del Norte1040
Mariposa632
Plumas370
Trinity60
Modoc50
Sierra50
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 63°
Brookings
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 50°
Grants Pass
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 59°
Klamath Falls
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 50°
Sunny and warmer Thursday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events