Tag Archives: computer

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.

https://neuralink.com/approach/

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. 

https://neuralink.com

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. 

Sources:

https://neuralink.com

https://businessinsider.com.pl/firmy/neuralink-firma-elona-muska-laczaca-mozg-z-komputerem-finansowanie/mv15909

https://www.forbes.com/sites/saibala/2021/04/13/monkey-mindpong-elon-musk–neuralinks-latest-could-potentially-revolutionize-healthcare/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsCul1sp4hQ&t=137s

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/09/tech/elon-musk-neuralink-pong-scli-intl/index.html

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Quantum power

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We all heard about supercomputers that are bigger than some houses and make enormous calculations. Also term of artificial intelligence or machine learning is getting popular. Slowly we are living in a world driven by data and all actions are made by programs.

In order to make more advance operations and use more sophisticated technology we need something different than another bigger computer. Than comes quantum computer

What is a quantum computer?

Our computers work in regular way. They can store information as 1 or 0 states called bits. Simply it means that when we have more data we use more bits and so on. Quantum computer works differently. It stores memory in a superposition of classical states and the basic unit of it is called qubit. They are in an indeterminate state between 0 and 1. It allows to make calculations much faster and efficient, but it’s not the biggest advantage of a quantum computing. Every qubit is connected in some way to other qubits and effect on each other within one computer. It means that there is a much shorter way for information to get through, than in classical computers. It enables to extremely shorten the time needed for all sort of difficult operations. However due to it’s a different state, qubits can sometimes fail and have errors, so they need to be constantly checking each other. It is said that a quantum computer can make calculations that would take 10 thousand years of today’s most powerful computer to solve, in just a few minutes. It opens a way for science and technology to work in completely new fields with a new great power to use. It will be crucial in fields like space travel, machine learning or data science. On the other hand, it is unlikely to be used in every household instead of classic computer.

The first one

Just a few weeks ago it seems that we have a breakthrough point for this industry. Google claimed to create a first fully working quantum computer in the world. The processor that operates this computer is called Sycamore. It works with 53 qubits. When it would be expanded to 70 qubits the biggest computer in the world would need to be the size of a city to reach it’s power. IBM is also working on it’s own project with quantum computing, but it is the Google which is the first. We don’t know yet how to use it for something particular, but we it is powerful.

 

References

Quantum computing’s ‘Hello World’ moment

https://www.ibm.com/quantum-computing/learn/what-is-quantum-computing/

https://ai.google/research/teams/applied-science/quantum/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hands-on-with-googles-quantum-computer/

https://www.wired.com/story/why-googles-quantum-computing-victory-is-a-huge-deal-and-a-letdown/

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