Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla, also leads Neuralink – a neuro-technology company that is developing a high-bandwidth brain machine interface (BMI) designed to enable paralyzed individuals to control electronic devices. "We’re aiming to design a fully implantable, cosmetically invisible brain-computer interface to let you control a computer or mobile device anywhere you go. Micron-scale threads would be inserted into areas of the brain that control movement. Each thread contains many electrodes and connects them to an implant called the “Link'," says the company. Long-term, Neuralink aims to expand the brain chip's capacity to treat brain-related issues.
The Link 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 and has provided annual tech demonstrations in the last couple of years. 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 a pong video game '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.
Neuralink will soon demonstrate the technologies' development progress. Musk planned to host the next event on Halloween (October 31), however, the tech event got delayed until the end of November. "Neuralink show & tell now on Nov 30," he announced via Twitter this week. It is unknown why the event was delayed by a month, nor whether Neuralink will demonstrate the Link chip on animals again. The company is still pending regulatory approval from the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin human trials. The company aimed to obtain approval by the end of 2022.
A monkey is literally playing a video game telepathically using a brain chip!!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2021
Neuralink show & tell now on Nov 30— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 23, 2022
Featured Image Source: Neuralink
About the Author
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.