The quest to meld mind and machine dates back to at least the 1970s, when scientists began, in earnest, to drill into peoples’ skulls and implant the first brain-computer interfaces—electrodes that translate brain cell activity into data. Today, BCIs can regulate tremors from Parkinson’s disease and restore some basic movement in people with paralysis. But they are still surgically implanted, and still quite experimental. Even so, the likes of Musk already envision a future where we’ll all have chips in our brains, and they’ll replace our need for keyboards, mouses, touchscreens, joysticks, steering wheels, and more.
Of course, that won’t happen anytime soon. The mysteries of the mind remain vast, and implanting hardware in healthy brains—well, forget about that, at least until the FDA deems it safe (light-years away). In the meantime, a wave of companies is betting on bringing Mind Control Lite to the masses with a neural interface that requires no surgery at all.
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