Skip to Main Content

The term “brain-computer interface,” or BCI, has been buzzing around Silicon Valley and the mainstream media for years, thanks in part to Elon Musk’s secretive, yet flashy company Neuralink, which launched in 2017 with the promise of brain enhancement, telepathy, and similar sci-fi dreams of brain control.

Neuralink, though, is one of the youngest players in the BCI field. Outside the limelight, a handful of other companies have been gaining momentum — and money.


But first, what is a BCI, anyway? Broadly, BCIs are a class of technologies that connect the Jell-O-like organ inside our skulls to a computer, deciphering our neuronal chatter into a digital signal that algorithms can then decode into some semblance of movement intention or physical sensation. BCIs allow paralyzed patients to bypass the break in their spinal cord or deteriorating motor pathway and explore movement and touch again, virtually or physically.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


Create a display name to comment

This name will appear with your comment

There was an error saving your display name. Please check and try again.