By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An implant that merges the brain with artificial intelligence could help patients who have brain disorders. It sounds like science fiction but Elon Musk says he plans to make it a reality. Musk says the brain implant would connect to a computer or smartphone via Bluetooth, and could be controlled with an iPhone app.

(credit: Neuralink)

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“The threads are very tiny and there’s a lot of them,” Musk said.

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Tesla’s CEO says the startup he founded, Neuralink, is developing a brain implant with threads as small as a neuron that could repair motor function or provide a memory boost with the help of artificial intelligence.

It could help cancer patients, quadriplegics and stroke victims.

“This, I think, has a very good purpose, which is to cure important diseases and to ultimately secure humanity’s future,” Musk said.

The implant is giving hope to people like Teri Little, whose mom had a stroke.

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“And if that technology worked and it was something that gave me hope, I wish she would’ve had it 20 years ago,” Little said.

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Little owns a Tesla and says her car is an example of how Musk is already changing the world. She hopes his brain implant will soon be able to help her mother.

“And we can question the way he gets there but he’s always thinking of ways to improve lives and including electric cars,” Little said.

Russ Hancock, who funds these kinds of projects, believes Musk is the right person to merge human beings with artificial intelligence.

“He’s the guy who has changed the world as we know it with an electric car that actually works,” Hancock said. “This is a guy that’s boring tunnels through the earth. This is the guy that’s trying to put people on Mars. Now he’s trying to get inside your brain.”

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Musk says he wants to have his brain implant in a patient by late next year.

Stephanie Stahl