(KPIX 5) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk is developing a device that may help quadriplegics, cancer patients and stroke victims who suffer from memory loss or lack of motor function.
Musk announced earlier this week that the startup he founded, Neuralink, is developing a brain implant that would connect to a computer or smartphone via Bluetooth and that could be controlled using an iPhone app.
Teri Little, whose mother suffered a stroke 20 years ago, said she hopes the device becomes a reality.
“If it would change her life, I would absolutely welcome it,” she said. “It completely changed her life; she’s been in a wheelchair since then and she’s had extremely low quality of life since then.”
The device has threads that are as small as a neuron, Musk said in a presentation. It would be implanted by a robot and is expected to be so small that even stitches would be unnecessary.
“This, I think, has a very good purpose, which is to cure important diseases and to ultimately secure humanity’s future,” said Musk.
Joint Venture Silicon Valley CEO Russ Hancock believes if anyone can merge human beings with artificial intelligence, it would be Musk.
“He can do it, he’s a genius,” said Hancock. “He’s the guy who has changed the world as we know it with an electric car that actually works, this is a guy that’s burrowing tunnels through the earth, this is the guy that’s trying to put people on Mars, now he’s trying to get inside your brain.”
However, critics said such a brain device could have negative impacts when it comes to gathering and collecting data.
“Yes, there are a host of issues that would have to be addressed and these issues will take decades to address,” said Hancock. “Privacy concerns, data information, but artificial intelligence is here, it is already happening.”
Musk said he hopes to have the implant inside a patient’s brain by late next year. Little, who owns a Tesla, said her car is an example of how Musk is already changing the world. Now she hopes his device will soon be able to help her mother.
“If that technology worked and it was something that gave me hope, I wish she would’ve had it 20 years ago,” Little said.