There's never a dull moment keeping an eye on multi-billionaire geek Elon Musk is up to.
Last week it was time for a progress report on yet another out-there project, the Neuralink brain implant.
In the unlikely event that you missed what Neuralink is about, it's a brain-machine interface (some would call it neural control interface) that was implanted in Gertrude the Pig to measure her neuronal-electrical activity.
For the squeamish among us - and yes, I'm like that - Neuralink seems horrendously invasive. Version 0.9 of the device requires a hole to be drilled in your skull, and some very thin wires are sewn into your brain.
A whopping 1024 of them, and the wires still aren't thin enough to measure individual neurones. Once the wires and the device is in place, the hole in the head is covered up with a superglued skin flap.
The Neuralink device has to be recharged every day using an induction pad similar to what you can get for smartphones and wearables.
Battery life clearly is an issue with the current Neuralink prototype but good to see that they've ditched the USB-C interface in the earlier ones tested on rats for Bluetooth wireless data transfers.
Being an interface between the brain and devices such as computers, Neuralink allows for bidirectional communication. This, naturally enough, generated an avalanche of jokes on social media of Musk programming people's thoughts or summoning Teslas telepathically.
Which sounds like no laughing matter given Musk's "eccentric" world views, but everything I've read points to that possibility being a very long way off in the future, if it ever happens at all.
Researchers started to observe how the brain works and the signals it transmits in the mid-1920s, but there's still a massive gap in our understanding of the "wetware" in our heads.
Progress continues to be made though, like putting a BCI (brain-computer interface) into a monkey so that it could control a robot arm by thought. That was 10 years ago, using a relatively crude device.
Neuroscientists are probably excited about Neuralink with its many fine wires going into your brain providing more than a thousand channels of information to study, and in that sense, the device is a real step forward for science.
Apparently there will be human tests for Neuralink starting this year as the United States Food and Drug Administration has given the company permission to do so. It would be interesting to see what happens to Tesla and other Musk-run companies' share prices should he decide to participate in the Neuralink tests.
We shouldn't forget that there is a great use-case for BCIs, which isn't to build sci-fi cyborgs, but to help disabled people have a better life. Although some deaf people reject them for cultural reasons, cochlear implants already do so by returning some hearing for people.
Instead of mind-controlled Tesla cars, how about thought-operated wheelchairs? Well, to keep the sci-fi theme going, it'd be thought-controlled exoskeletons of course.
Neuralink at this stage seems crude with a relatively grisly and most likely, very expensive and risky procedure required for the implant. Those are serious cons that researchers are no doubt aware of and they could actually encourage the development of non-invasive technologies that don't require a hole in the head, especially for controlling prosthetics.
There are many creative ways to observe and interpret neural activity. Take Thought-Wired in Auckland, which developed a blink-switch called Nous for severely physically disabled people, like those who have motor neurone disease which means they can't move their bodies but their brains are working fine.
By detecting eye blinks, Nous can use them to access and control computers and learn over time with artificial intelligence to improve the recognition.
Other techniques include using depth-sensing cameras to capture residual muscle activity instead of inserting sensors into people, and to use their output to control prosthetic robotic arms.
Increasingly powerful smartphones and wearables with specialised hardware like AI chips and new, interconnected sensors and cameras make it possible to add computing power and data gathering to people, along with low-latency 5G connections to many network edge clouds.
There may be some cases where painfully and expensively merging humans with machines will work well, which is how sci-fi writers decades ago envisaged us becoming cyborgs.
In most cases though, I suspect that for the rest of us, it will be "there's an app for that" instead.