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Sunday, May 19, 2024

China establishes a state-funded laboratory to advance research in brain-machine interfaces, akin to Neuralink

Last week, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that the Chinese government had allocated funds to establish a state-of-the-art laboratory in Tianjin called the Sixth Haihe Laboratory. The lab will focus on research in the field of brain-machine interfaces, similar to the work done by Neuralink, founded by Elon Musk. The primary aim of the lab is to foster innovation and spur economic growth.

Brain-machine interface (BMI) technology allows for the connection between the human brain and devices such as computers, enabling them to perform various tasks. A critical demonstration of this technology was when Neuralink showcased a monkey playing pong without a controller. However, Neuralink’s progress in this field has been limited to a few successful trials, prompting the Chinese government to invest in developing similar BMI technology independently.

Chinese lab to work on brain-machine interfaces

Research institutions in the United States, including the University of California, Berkeley, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have been at the forefront of brain-machine interface technology development for several years.

Following its strategy of challenging US dominance in various technological fields like hypersonic missiles, China is also investing in establishing a solid research foundation for brain-machine interface technology. The recently established Haihe laboratory in Tianjin is bringing together over 60 scientists, many of whom have worked abroad, to research various aspects of brain-machine interfaces.

The lab’s researchers are working on a range of related areas, such as developing bionic tissues for the human body and devising methods for detecting and measuring brain signals to enhance communication between humans and machines, thus enabling them to collaborate better.

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