For years, computers have been creeping ever nearer to our neurons. Thousands of people have become cyborgs, of a sort, for medical reasons: cochlear implants augment hearing and deep-brain stimulators treat Parkinson’s. But within the next decade, we are likely to see a new kind of implant, designed for healthy people who want to merge with machines. With several competing technologies in development, scientists squabble over which device works best; no one wants theirs to end up looking like the Betamax of brain wear. Schalk is a champion of the ECoG implant because, unlike other devices, it does not pierce brain tissue; instead it can ride on top of the brain-blood barrier, sensing the activity of populations of neurons and passing their chatter to the outside world, like a radio signal. Schalk says this is the brain implant most likely to evolve into a consumer product that could send signals to a prosthetic hand, an iPhone, a computer or a car.