You don't need an infinite number of monkeys to type out the complete works of William Shakespeare. What you need, according to a team of researchers from Stanford University, is one monkey equipped with a brain implant that allows it to interface with a computer. In a new experiment described in the journal IEEE, researchers were able to use a brain-computer interface (BCI) to enable thought-controlled typing at a rate of up to 12 words a minute -- the highest brain-based typing rate ever achieved. In the experiment conducted on two rhesus macaques, the animals were able to transcribe passages from Hamlet and the New York Times. "Our results demonstrate that this interface may have great promise for use in people.
Brain computer interfaces might prevent superintelligent AI from ending the world. Elon Musk is a busy guy. Given Musk's ambitiousness, it's not totally surprising that he is also launching a company that will look into ways to link human brains to computers. Musk reportedly plans to spend 3-5% of his work time on Neuralink, which will develop technology to integrate brains and computers as a way to fix medical problems and eventually supercharge human cognition. Existing brain-computer interfaces, which are relatively simple compared to Musks's goals, can connect to a few hundred brain cells at a time.
There are times when you can actually believe that you have been asleep for a few years. You wake up, switch on your computer and read something that clearly comes from the distant future. The item, in this case, was a headline that read: "Brain machine interface hardware revenues to reach $19 billion by 2027". Surely some time warp must have catapulted us at least five years into the future. As bleary, early morning images of people interfacing with their computers (such an old fashioned term), devices, houses, locks, offices and the environment generally began to clear, slightly saner images took their place.
What if you could talk through your skin? What if you had a mouse you could control with your brain? These are just two of the mind-blowing questions Facebook's Regina Dugan posed to the audience at the company's F8 developer conference, and the vision she laid out was so ambitious you could almost feel the silent awe emanating from the F8 audience as spoke. Dugan, a former DARPA director and ex-Googler from the search giant's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, delivered on Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer's earlier promise on day two of F8 to give us a peek at brain-computer interfaces. No, Facebook didn't unveil invasive brain plugs to link you to its growing virtual-reality metaverse, but the company did reveal some of its fascinating research that will serve as the underpinnings for computer interfaces of the future.
For the first 54 years of his life, Dennis DeGray was an active guy. In 2007 he was living in Pacific Grove, Calif., not far from the ocean and working at a beachside restaurant. Then, while taking out the trash one rainy night, he slipped, fell, and hit his chin on the pavement, snapping his neck between the second and third vertebrae. DeGray was instantly rendered, as he puts it, "completely nonfunctional from the collarbone south." He's since depended on caregivers to feed, clothe, and clean him and meet most any other need.