SpaceX founder and CEO of Tesla Elon Musk also leads Neuralink, a neuro-technology company that is developing a brain machine interface (BMI) that will be capable of treating a variety of brain-related issues. The BMI is called 'Link'; it is a coin-sized chip that features 1,024 electrode threads that are implanted into the brain where the thin electrode threads can stimulate neurons. Neuralink aims to enable paralyzed individuals to control electronic devices with their ‘thoughts’. The company has been testing the technology on animals. In August of 2020, Musk showcased how the Link chip works by reading brain responses on pigs.
The most amazing demonstration was in April of 2021, Neuralink gave a first look at a macaque monkey actually playing pong 'telepathically' with only its thoughts - without a controller. Neuralink shared a video of a 9-year-old macaque, named ‘Pager,’ who has an N1 Link chip implanted in the sensory area (motor-cortex) of its brain that coordinates hand an arm movements. “The Links record over 2,000 electrodes implanted in the regions in Pager’s motor-cortex. He has learned to interact with a computer for a tasty banana smoothie delivered with a straw,” the video narrator says (linked below).
Monkey plays Pong with his mind https://t.co/35NIFm4C7T— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2021
“For the initial device, it’s read/write in every channel with about 1024 channels, all-day battery life that recharges overnight and has quite a long-range, so you can have the range being to your phone,” Musk said during the 2020 presentation. “I should say that’s kind of an important thing, because this would connect to your phone, and so the application would be on your phone, and the Link communicating, by essentially Bluetooth low energy to the device in your head.” The Link device will be capable of inductive charging (wirelessly).
This week, Musk announced they will soon demonstrate the BMI's development again. "Neuralink progress update show & tell on October 31 st (Halloween)," he wrote via Twitter on August 22. It is unknown whether Neuralink will demonstrate the Link BMI on animals again. The company is still pending regulatory approval from the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin human trials. According to a recent report by Reuters, Musk is in discussions with Synchron Inc. to potentially collaborate on neuro-tech development. Synchron Inc. already has FDA approval to test BMI on humans. Synchron implanted its device for the first time on a human in the United States in July, after it tested its device on four people in Australia. It is possible that Neuralink is seeking the collaboration to speed up Neuralink's FDA approval to implant on a human.
Neuralink progress update show & tell on October 31 st (Halloween)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 22, 2022
Featured Image Source: Neuralink.com
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Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.