China developed its very own Neuralink — Neucyber brain interface comes from a neurotechnology firm

On April 25th, Chinese company Beijing Xinzhida Neurotechnology unveiled its own brain-computer interface (BCI) called Neucyber, which has been used to give a monkey control over a robotic arm [h/t Reuters]. 

Xinzhida Neurotechnology is backed by the Chinese Community Party, but considering existing reports of less-invasive brain interfaces than Neuralink, it’s not unlikely that Chinese researchers could develop a Neuralink-adjacent brain implant. 

It seems that the market for brain interfaces is set to be competitive, especially whenever Xinzhida Neurotechnology and Neuralink are both able to safely use them with humans. For now, Xhinzhida’s Neucyber is only confirmed to work with monkeys, and no projection for human testing has been given. That might be for the best, considering what’s been reported about the monkeys used for Neuralink’s testing.

Even with the status of BCIs as-is, the long-term health implications of Neuralink and even Neucyber interfaces in humans are unknown, though the aforementioned Neuralink patient seems to be fine and, in fact, was mentioned by Musk about a month prior to his interview. 

Xinzhida Neurotechnology’s brain interface was revealed during Beijing, China’s annual tech-centric Zhongguancun Forum, following last year’s event, which classified BCI technology as “an important cutting-edge emerging technology.” We still don’t know how long it will take for it to progress to human trials—even the better-known Neuralink still has a ways to go before it becomes mainstream.

Regardless, time’s arrow marches forward— and with it too, the fascinating, potentially dangerous exploration into brain interfaces and other such genuine cyberpunk technology. Here’s hoping a Neuralink or Neucyber brain implant never ignites like a Tesla, right? 

For now, though, stories like this are unlikely to be the determining factor in larger-scale conflicts like the U.S. and China Chip War or the international race toward quantum computing superiority. However, growing competition in the area of brain interfaces should be more interesting to monitor as time goes on, especially when less-invasive but still effective interfaces are found.

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