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☕ Hey there! We had to take a drive out to the sticks after work, and can I just say farmland plus golden hour makes for an absolutely beautiful combo? It’s definitely Wallpaper Wednesday fodder out there. Pity I didn’t pull over for a few shots. In any event, we’ve got more Neuralink news, the EU’s metaverse platform disaster, and more.

Neuralink’s show and tell

Elon Musk’s Neuralink company held a show-and-tell event yesterday (check out The Verge‘s 14-minute highlight video), offering a couple of new demonstrations of the brain control interface and outlining new goals. And perhaps the biggest news is Musk saying they’re now expecting human trials with the tech in the next six months.

Highlights from the event

  • Neuralink showed a demo of a monkey typing “welcome to show and tell” with its mind via the brain control interface.
  • Musk rightfully noted that the monkey was only following the highlighted key presses rather than actually being able to spell.
  • But it still served as a cool demo of the tech, delivering what seemed to be brisk input speeds.
  • The interface also requires wireless charging, and there was a demo for this too.
  • The demo clip (see the screenshot above) showed monkeys wirelessly charging the interface in their heads, being enticed by smoothies.
  • Neuralink also revealed a surgical robot that it built for installing the interface, demoing the installation process on a dummy.
  • Musk concluded by saying that the event was ultimately a recruiting drive.

Human trials? We’ve been having it

  • “We think probably in about six months, we should be able to have a Neuralink installed in a human,” Musk noted during the event.
  • But the company has already been beaten to this brain control interface goal by arch-rival Synchron.
  • Synchron has successfully installed its interface in five patients, with the first US patient receiving it in July.
  • The rival company’s goal was to let patients surf the web, text, and more with their mind.
  • But there’s also reason to believe that Neuralink might miss its own goal.
  • Musk previously said it wanted the first human trials in 2020 and in 2022, as Engadget noted in a great article.
  • I can’t help but think of that now-private video compilation of Musk saying autonomous driving was coming “next year” since 2012.
  • The latest goal is also interesting in light of news emerging in February that at least 15 monkeys have died between 2017 and 2020.
  • Still, I can’t wait for brain control tech to (safely) take off. It could be a game-changer for paralyzed people and more.

📞 OnePlus now matches Samsung’s Android update pledge, but there’s a catch: No word on specific models just yet (Android Authority).

🖼️ Wallpaper Wednesday is here again: Check out these reader and team submissions (Android Authority).

🎮 Google begins refunding Stadia hardware purchases made on the Google Store: Tough luck if you bought hardware via the likes of Best Buy (Engadget).

📱 Gorilla Glass Victus 2 launched, focusing on concrete drops: We’ll likely see this on several phones in 2023 (Android Authority).

⚠️ Lastpass says hackers accessed customer data in new breach: Yes, a second breach in 2022. The company says passwords weren’t compromised though (Bleeping Computer).

🖨️ Epson quitting laser printers doesn’t address its bigger sustainability issue: The company is switching to inkjet printers entirely by 2026, citing sustainability. Looks like I’m not the only one seriously questioning the reasoning (Ars Technica).

Thursday Thing

If companies embracing the “metaverse” wasn’t enough, we’re seeing governments do so as well. In fact, the European Union’s foreign aid department recently spent €387,000 on its own metaverse platform, holding a party in it.

Unfortunately for the EU, Politico reported that only five people showed up to the shindig. Eventually, Devex journalist Vince Chadwick was the only remaining guest, he tweeted. Money well spent.

My favorite thing about this saga? One of the department’s own staff calling it “digital garbage” and another calling it “depressing and embarrassing” in a Devex article earlier this month. 

Have a pleasant day!
Hadlee Simons, Editor.

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