Indroduction to Brain–machine interfaces (BMIs)

Introduction to Brain–machine interfaces (BMIs) Neurolink and Brain plasticity

With the 2019 announcement of startup company developed by Elon Musk’s , developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers called Neuralink i felt the need to write this article to show my passion for the subject, shine a little light on the methods and science behind so those of us who are unfamiliar with the technology and its promises can familiarize your selves better.

INTRODUCTION

First of all. To better understand any rising technology of modern times, we will have to introduce ours selves with a key knowledge components of the current subject such as Brain Plasticity, what it is, and it benefits the development of such a startup , little bit of Neuroscience to show basis for tech risks and scope of the challenge and in the end the mechanics involved using flexible electrode “threads” implanted into the human brain by a neurosurgical robot.

Little about Neurons

From a basic neural science we know that: Neurons connect to form large network trough atone dendrite junctions called Synapses. At these connection points neurons communicate by  chemical signals called Neuro transmitters, which are release in reaction to an electric spike called action potential.  These action potentials produce electric field that spreads from neuron that can be detected by placing electrodes nearby allowing for recording for the neuro spikes.

Next is Neuroplasticity

As you can read in Wiki Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticityneuroelasticity, or neural plasticity, is the ability of the brain to change continuously throughout an individual’s life, e.g., brain activity associated with a given function can be transferred to a different location, the proportion of grey matter can change, and synapses may strengthen or weaken over time. The aim of neuroplasticity is to optimize the neural networks during phylogenesis, ontogeny, and physiological learning, as well as after a brain injury. Research in the latter half of the 20th century showed that many aspects of the brain can be altered (or are “plastic”) even through adulthood.

My article about Machine learning and Neural Networks

Further more,

What you can not read in Wiki is that Neuroplasticity comes with one more advantage that we can use in our favor, which is that brain cells with all their complexity has ability to adapt its software to any given new object which we can connect to neurons. Which in layman’s turns means the same as if our brain has a software that adapts its drivers to any new connected device to it. Imagine Computer having same ability. It would mean you would not have to even upgrade, downgrade or download drivers for any device connected to it cause it would automatically taken its time adapt and read the functionality of new connected device, Which is total honesty is pretty much amazing on its own if you ask me. On the side note. If you would like to read more about neural networks that are based on Neuro pathway simulations i link my article about machine learning on the left side.

BMI Threads

Starting with 10 000 electrodes …

Here comes the revolution

On the left side photo you can see the size of threads ( electrode)  which would be inserted by the robot into spaces between blood vessels close to neurons through the incision of few milliliters. And on the right you see action potential readings where each line represents 1 electrode from individual thread. From what Elon Musk said while presenting his Neurolink company development there will be up to 10 000  of these on 1 chip on the size of incision of about 2 mm diameter with a developing version. If you still following i want you to remember first Iphone and how fast did it change to what it is today, cause this product will be ready in the year 2020. And just think. all this interface to the chip connection will work wireless  …

Action potentials

BMI implanting by robotic arm

Here comes the revolution

On the left side photo you can see the size of threads ( electrode)  which would be inserted by the robot into spaces between blood vessels close to neurons through the incision of few milliliters. And on the right you see action potential readings where each line represents 1 electrode. From what Elon Musk said while presenting his Neurolink company development there will be up to 10 000  of these on 1 chip on the size of incision of about 2 mm diameter with wireless capability and all this thanks to small size of threads.

Neurolink implanting robot

Evolution

Here comes the the next step in human history.

Last known device which worked as proximity reader of human brain signals, cause it was not small enough to read individual neurons was Utah array. “The Utah Array was developed in the 1990s and has been the industry standard ever since.” Now, I don’t know how about you but I think the leap here is just Amazing. But what does this all mean ?

Well this means a lot. Imagine connecting 1 more hand to your brain, make it a robotic hand, make all connections wireless, and add as much sensors and capabilities to it as technologically possible. Now, imagine that your brain given some time will adjust to new sensor input and electric input and starts to use your hand as it was your own. And at this point it really becomes a part of you, cause you would not even think of how it would work cause you will not have to. Does this sound interesting ? well now, I want you to imagine what else can you connect to your brain to extend its capabilities … and here is where surely you can see the magic.

New business oportunities

Future is a terrifying concept but its still full of wonders and beauty.

If you stay away from you prejudice think about this.

  • 2009 – people thought facebook will never be used since there was Myspace.
  • 2006 – phone without buttons, why would you use that…
  • 1998 – online purchases were feared to be stealing money
  • 1987 – cable tv was though of to be unnecessary
  • 1943 – President of IBM – “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
  • 1920 – wired electricity.
  • Etc.

The market is just opening, and there will be many businesses opening up to this new technological advancement. think about controlling any app, computer device with your mind. No more mouse or keyboard. Robotic extension technology, cybernetics and evolution into cyborgs. As terrifying as it sounds keep in mind the timeline above and the thoughts and wishes of people who were mistaking then and will still make mistakes in the future, just because of the fear of evolution.

More to come …

Read more:

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