Neuralink, the company specialized in neuroscience headed by Elon Musk, will have a strong competitor in China. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of that country (MIIT) announced its plans to manufacture brain chips by 2025, with the ambition of establishing itself as a major player in that sector.
China will compete with Neuralink: the details of the initiative
In a document published this week, MIIT revealed its intention to create “cutting-edge technologies” in the field of neuroscience. The project involves the development of brain-computer interfaces, similar to the implants made by Musk's firm, which promote interaction between neurons and machines.
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According to the Chinese ministry, the purpose is to “achieve breakthroughs in key technologies and core devices such as brain-computer fusion, brain-like chips and neural models of brain computing.” In addition, they referred to the development of “easy-to-use systems and safe brain-computer interface products, (encouraging) the exploration of applications in typical fields such as medical rehabilitation, driverless driving and virtual reality.”
Brain chips not only allow an unprecedented link between the brain and machines: they also offer benefits for treating various neurological diseases. By: (Photo: Adobe Stock)
The ministry also revealed plans in the field of quantum computing. In addition, last year they had reported their work on the development of humanoid robots.
As the publication Business Insider recalls, initiatives of this kind are not new in the Asian giant. In 2019, a chip for brain-computer interfaces called “Brain Talker” was presented in that country, developed by Tianjin University in collaboration with the state-run China Electronics Corporation. In addition, the Chinese government also provided funding for a research laboratory in the area last year, which has a team of more than 60 scientists.
Neuralink confirmed the first trial in humans
In recent hours, Elon Musk stated that his Neuralink implanted a brain chip in its first human patient with encouraging initial results. “He is recovering well. “The initial results show promising detection of neuronal spikes,” said the tycoon.
The Neuralink chip is the size of a coin. (Neuralink)
Founded in 2016, Neuralink began recruiting patients for its first-in-human clinical trial late last year after receiving approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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The coin-sized implant is placed in the brain through minimally invasive surgery. Until now, it had only been tested on animals, instances that included controversy and accusations. Musk's company said it publicly showed a monkey that learned to play the video game Pong “with its brain.” Soon, advocacy organizations denounced cruel treatment of animals and that many died during the experiments.