Tag Archives: brain

Hope for the paralyzed? Neuralink, its monkey and their chips.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Neuraink was founded in the summer of 2016 by the Elon Musk, as his fourth technological company. The company is aiming to develop “ a fully integrated brain machine interface (BMI) system. Either way, BMIs are technologies that enable a computer or other digital device to communicate directly with the brain. Our goal is to build a system with at least two orders of magnitude more communication channels (electrodes) than current clinically-approved devices.” 

They introduced the product called The Link which should be able to ensure fully wireless communication through the skin. This chip according to the company would have 1024 electrodes that penetrate the outer layer of the brain. The Link needs to meet the criteria of safety and be functional for the individual use.


Let’s consider the following scenario: Can a paralyzed person use a tablet or smartphone faster than a healthy person using a mouse, cursor, trackpad, and touchscreen? 

Until recently, such a possibility seemed unrealistic, but as new research indicates, it is possible, and maybe in the future, we will run electronic devices with our minds. A concrete ape, a nine-year-old macaque, learned to do so a few days earlier. Thanks to the implemented device animal was able to play uncomplicated game Pong. The animal was able to handle the game with ease thanks to two Neuralink sensors inserted in its macaque. Pager, a 9-year-old with system implanted 6 weeks ago, can now interact with an implant that allows him to manipulate the cursor with his feelings. Musk stressed that the animal never suffered or was sad for a single second.

The first move, according to the company, is to calibrate the equipment. The monkey then plays with a joystick as the Neuralink implant transmits data from thousands of neurons in its brain and field to a computer. You will see what possibilities the brain has for going in a certain direction based on this. The following move was to change the game administration to Neuralink. The animal continued to use the controller, but since it was not wired to the screen, the monkey’s reality was erratic and did not shift in sync with its thinking. The third stage was a game in which no joystick was used.

Neuralink introduced following diagram that shows how their device work in described case. 


This is a big move forward and gives many people with motor disorders hope. According to Elon Musk, in the first version of Neuralink, this technology would be used by people who cannot use a mouse or a touch screen. However, this is not the finish. Musk stated that the second iteration of the Neuralink system, which will be implanted in the brain, will attach to the company’s other sensors located in the body. This is to help people who are paralyzed to walk.

In the other hand, there are certain legitimate questions. Neuralink will face significant technical and ethical challenges. One of the technical challenges is developing electrodes that can last for decades without the need for costly replacements. What is required is not only scientific advancement, but also hands to work and free minds full of ideas. Will Neuralink be able to overcome the current issues? Will the human trials scheduled for 2021 be a success? We need to closely track the progress of this business in order to get answers to these issues. 







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Reading Time: 3 minutes

The brain, what it is exactly?

Basically, our brain is about one and a half kilograms of jelly producing electricity and consists mainly of water (1.5 liters), protein (130 g), fat (95 g) and mineral salts. The brain is made up of nerve cells called neurons, which number can be from 90 to 200 billion. It is approximately only 2% of our body mass, but consumes as much as 20% of our energy. So far it sounds quite simple, as we learned that knowledge at school, but what is so special about it, that makes us ourselves, conscious human beings able to feel, explore the universe and create art? 

In the past, our brains and the way they work was compared to basic computers that operate on a binary system, 0s and 1s. It’s easy to think they are similar, both process information, make decisions and deal with inputs and outputs. But in reality, what happens inside of our heads is way too complexed to be simplified to this system, thus lately researchers and scientists have been working on the theory that operations in our brain can be based on quantum mechanics.

Orchestrated Objective Reduction

Known also as „Orch OR” is a theory developed by a physicist Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff and postulates that our consciousness originates at the quantum level inside neurons, rather than the conventional idea that it is a product of connections between neurons.
Penrose refers to the basic principles of quantum computation, in which units of information can be at the same time in many states, not only 1s and 0s, at least until they get measured and remain in one state. When a large number of objects operate in one quantum state, we can talk about coherence. Quantum states exist simultaneously in so-called superposition, before they almost immediately combine into one calculation result.
All of which means quantum computing has the potential to create way more complex processing networks than in an earlier hypothesis based only on the idea of neurons contacting together by electrical impulses and might be an answer to the question how our brains actually work. Quantum processes could help us explain and understand the most mysterious functions of the brain, such as methods for creating long-term memory or mechanisms for generating awareness and emotions.

Hameroff claims that quantum coherence occurs in microtubules, protein structures in brain neurons. We can find them in eukaryotic cells that are part of the cytoskeleton. They are responsible for the shape of the cell, its movement and cell division. Hameroff thinks that microtubules are the quantum devices Penrose needed for their theory. However, more than just a sequence of random moments of quantum coherence is needed to affect consciousness. The whole process needs to have a certain order and structure so that we could make conscious choices. The Orch-OR theory of Penrose and Hameroff, says that it is the microtubules in our brains that control these moments of consciousness by collecting and processing information and memory.


The quantum soul

Both researchers believe that the human brain is, in fact, a biological computer, and human consciousness is a program implemented by a quantum computer located in the brain that does not stop working after human death. According to this theory, when people enter a phase called clinical death, the microtubules found in the brain change their quantum state, but retain the information they contain. Thus, the body is decomposed, but the information, or “soul” remains. Consciousness becomes part of the universe without dying, at least not in the classical way of our thinking. 


But so far all those are just considerations and to sum up, we can just quote the British philosopher, Emerson Pugh:
“If the human brain was so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.”








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If you had a chance to UPGRADE your BRAIN, would you do it?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cyberpunk is just around the corner…

We live in a cutting-edge. Technologies are developing pretty fast. Today, probably, it would be hard to surprise someone with robots, self-driving cars, 3D-printers, and their abilities. Even now people are developing bionic hands, legs, exoskeletons to make the lives of people with debilities easier. They are implementing a software inside, trying to do their best, only that people to feel like a full-fledged cell of society.


Thanks to a BCI developed at the University of Pittsburgh that stimulates the sensory region of the brain, the man, whose name is Nathan Copeland, is the first one who managed to feel a sense of touch through a mind-controlled robotic arm.

Upgrade your brain like hardware for PC…

But if there is a technology that can help not only people with limited opportunities but also healthy people to increase their productivity?

If you had a chance to upgrade yourself, would you let other people to implant a chip in the brain?

It sounds like a creepy fiction, however, nowadays scientists are actively developing such chips, brain computers, that are able to increase your productivity, working in a global company, and also expand your memory, allowing you never to forget a name or a face of a certain person, to remember everything detailed.

There are various ways of connecting brain signals with brain computers, or BCIs – but the Elon Mask’s company called “Neuralink” has developed this technology, even more, using tiny, super-thin, flexible micro-electrodes, which allow special small device to be implanted inside the brain, in order to read and record the neural signals activity.  This technology has already been tested on animals, and they are preparing for the next step, testing on humans.


Elon Musk told about Neuralink’s plans for its progressive BCI technology, which involves using a specially built surgical robot, machine to implement thousands of thread-like electrodes into the brain.


The technology isn’t there yet, however, a separate, removable device would be a better option for healthy people, because it could be kept and used outside the body and switched off easily anytime.

Although this technology may be extremely beneficial, and mind-controlled devices can be invented, people will be facing some ethical problems. For example, their life would be even less private than now, their memories and thoughts would be monitored all the time. In addition, people’s devices can be easily hacked, controlled and probably their future behavior will not be the same. They can totally lose their freedom.

So before improving your brain with implants, you should ask yourself…

Is it worth living in a world in which there is no freedom?




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Artificial Intelligence will help you learn. And relax.

Reading Time: 2 minutesArtificial Intelligence is a growing trend in technology. Most of us are aware of the fact that its importance is steadily increasing. Some people say AI is, in fact, the most important topic for our future. 

Looks like we should start getting used to it and finding a place for AI in our lives. Of course, it is widely used in business already, Accenture calls AI ‘fuel for growth’.  However, what I wanted to talk about is a solution that can help you learn, relax or fight insomnia thanks to Artificial Intelligence.

Brain.fm is a service offering AI-composed music that will help you trigger specific cognitive states. This includes deep focus, relaxation, and sleep. Music is obviously powerful and we know that. That’s a rule all movie soundtracks are based on. But Brain.fm goes even further. The product has a lot of scientific research behind. Starting with how neuronal oscillations control cognitive processes to showing how music entrains neuronal oscillations.

There are plenty of researchers from various universities behind Brain.fm. There are even experiments ran to measure effects of the AI-composed music on cognition. Measures included Reaction Time (RT), Go-No Go (GNG), Visual Pattern Recognition (VPR) and EEG. Detailed results are presented here, but well, you probably guessed them already ;).

What’s interesting, even athletes use Brain.fm. It lets them focus and then relax and meditate. For athletes, especially those from Olympic teams, the pressure is huge. Psychological aspects of sports are as important as physical ones. It’s not something new that during finals of the most important championships, mind is equally important as body and only people who have nerves of steel will win. Robby Smith is the US Olympic wrestling team captain and he was using Brain.fm during Rio preparations. This is a great example of balanced preparations and another use of AI.

The solution sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? What’s worrisome a little is the legal info. If the AI-composed music so beneficial to us, why do have to be so careful about it? If it might be dangerous to epileptics, pregnant women, people wearing a pacemaker of ones who drank alcohol and took medications, then how can we be sure it’s safe to the rest of us? Isn’t it just too misterious, with no explanation following the legal info?



Source: Brain.fm

For sure, the solution is brilliant and can help many people who can’t focus or sleep. Knowing the reality of today’s and huge problems people have with focus, seems like the demand will be only growing. But can we really trust Brain.fm? I’m sure we’ll find out about it soon!


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