Neuralink Corporation is a neurotechnology company founded by Elon Musk and others, developing implantable brain-machine interfaces. On August 28, Friday, Elon Musk and his team introduced a delicate, lightweight brain implant (neuralink) to the world, which has the potential to direct civilization towards a pain-free super-intelligent future.
What does It Look Like?
Sized at 23 mm by 8 mm, the link has 1024 channels that will be surgically connected to the neurons with a surgical robot’s help. These electrodes are made of non-corrosive material, probably silicon carbide, whose diameter is 5 micron 1 by 20th of a human hair strand.
The essential function of this implant is the ability to read and write. Read indicates grasping the neurons’ signals, and right implies generating electric impulses that can activate the neurons to perform a targeted action.
Elon Musk himself mentioned that it’s like a fit bit in your skull with tiny wires. Another essential feature to know is that the coin-shaped implant can be charged contactless.
This device operates like a typical Bluetooth device that exists today. Users can connect their smartphones to the link, have full knowledge of their brain activity, and decide which parts of the brain should be activated.
Tale of Three Pigs and the Chip
in the live demo on Friday, Musk introduced three pigs to the audience named Joyce, Dorothy, and Gertrude. These three high-energy creatures had a significant difference.
Joyce never had a neural implant. Dorothy, the pig that formerly had a neural implant, was later removed. And Gertrude, the pig, was implanted with a link. Musk pointed out how these three pigs behave normally despite two of these creatures having undergone surgery. Talking about animal choice, one of the team members said that many properties such as skull thickness and volume of the brain are closer to that of humans.
Moreover, he also mentioned that it’s easier to keep pigs happy as all they want to do is eat. A demonstration was shown where one of the pigs with implant and limb sensors was made for walking on a treadmill. The team then traced the limb functions to the brain activity read by the link. The results show remarkable consistency between the predicted and actual outputs.
from depression to paralysis, neuralink promises to provide solutions that can restore lost functionalities in the patient.
Musk, along with this team, also spoke about different kinds of ailments that can be cured with the help of neuralink, saying that almost everyone has neurological problems over time. So we need a generalized brain device that is reliable and affordable.
How Much Does It Cost?
Throughout the presentation, Musk exhibit a surgical robot. This robot will be taking care of almost all the process of mounting the implant.
According to Musk, it would take a maximum of an hour to get the implant and return home. He also added that the whole surgery could be done without the need for general anesthesia. However, Musk did not have an actual number on his mind considering the cost of robotic surgery and the implant. Musk is optimistic that the customers can avail of this device for a price similar to Lasik surgeries.
When Wan We get one?
Last year musk promised that we would see the first version of the product in 2020. But we all know that 2020 didn’t go as planned for most of us. We would also have to wait for a while before finding the link in the nearest stores.
One major update by Musk is the approval of the FDA. Musk announced that their experiments so far were being done in compliance with the FDA.
What Does the Future Hold?
Musk also mentioned that we could save and replay memories. The future is going to be a weird one. Suppose you have a whole-brain interface with everything that’s encoded in memory. In that case, you could upload, you could basically store, your memories as a backup and restore the memories, then ultimately you could potentially download them into a new body or a robot body.
The future is going to be a weird one. During the question and answer session at the event, Musk was asked regarding the link’s few exciting applications. And he replied with telepathy memory repositories and superhuman vision.
- Wikipedia contributors. (2020, September 6). Neuralink. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:45, September 8, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Neuralink&oldid=976972393
- Elon Musk Demos Neuralink: Highlights From The Event. https://analyticsindiamag.com/neuralink-event-elon-musk-update/