Elon Musk is really out there making Sci-Fi a reality – from Tesla electric vehicles with full-self driving capability to rockets that launch astronauts to orbit and return with a propulsive landing to be reused – Musk is creating a future we can all be excited about. His latest venture involves merging minds and machines through a Neuralink brain implant chip. In May, Neuralink earned approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to commence their inaugural human brain implant trials to test their technology. Read more: Neuralink receives FDA approval to commence the first Human Brain Implant study
In a groundbreaking announcement during Tesla's second-quarter (Q2) performance update on July 19, Musk revealed a visionary idea for a new line of Tesla products: robotic limbs. These state-of-the-art prosthetics would be powered by advanced ‘Optimus’ robotics from Tesla and cutting-edge brain-implant technology from Neuralink. The revolutionary combination has the potential to empower amputees to control robotic limbs with their thoughts.
Tesla’s Optimus robot is designed to assist humans in various tasks to relieve them of monotonous and laborious work. While discussing the progress of Optimus during Tesla's Q2 earnings call, Musk revealed the team's inclination towards exploring high-tech prosthetics applications. – “I should say another cool thing about Optimus is that there's, just in the U.S. alone, there are 2 million amputees. And I was just talking to the Neuralink team, and by combining a Neuralink implant and a robotic arm or leg for someone that has had their arm or leg or arms and legs amputated, we believe we can give basically a cyber body that is incredibly capable,” shared Musk during the Tesla Q2 earnings call with investors, “A Six Million Dollar Man in real life. Don’t want to cost $6 million. $60,000 man. This sounds impressive, but it will actually, I think, would be incredible to potentially help people around the world and give them a robot arm, or like, that is as good, maybe long term better than a biological one,” said Musk. 'The Six Million Dollar Man' is a reference to a 1970s American Sci-Fi television series about a former astronaut that had an accident and his body was fixed with bionic implants which give him superhuman strength, speed and vision.
Neuralink has been working diligently on developing brain implants that allow people with physical disabilities to control computers or mobile devices using their thoughts. By integrating this neural interface technology with Tesla's robotic limbs, the possibilities for amputees to regain full control and dexterity are limitless.
Musk's vision of offering affordable and advanced prosthetics could revolutionize the field of medical technology, enabling amputees to regain independence and redefine the boundaries of human capability. As this transformative project continues to unfold, it holds the potential to change the lives of millions and herald a new era of human-robotic integration.
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Featured Image Source: Tesla
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.