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Last Friday, Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface company, Neuralink, had a demo showing a coin-sized device without wires. Tesla and SpaceX CEO used three pigs of varying levels of interest in cooperating. Further, the company presented real-time neural signals from one of the pigs, Gertrude, who had the implant for about two months.
The start-up mentioned designing tiny flexible ‘threads’ that are ten times thinner than a human hair to treat brain injuries and trauma and enable symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence. Musk described the device as “like a Fitbit in your skull.” In July 2019, he mentioned that he aims to implant a human patient by the end of 2020.
According to Musk, the process of “getting a Link” does not need general anesthesia, and he aims for a robot to perform the whole surgery in one hour. Musk said that people who get the Neuralink device are left with a tiny scar after the electrodes are placed in the brain and won’t be bloody if performed well.
The roles of neuron activities are essential to Neuralink’s technology. The goal of obtaining human symbiosis with artificial intelligence (AI) starts by connecting electrodes throughout the brain and reading its neuron signals en masse. The signals’ data would teach Neuralink’s software on brain communication with the body, leading to a certain amount of replication and direction.
The company had struggles with past employees detailing to StatNews rushed timelines and slow scientific progress. The vice president of advanced engineering at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research Chad Bouton told CNBC by phone that the group will focus on people with the most need for this technology. The device can give plenty of opportunities to ALS people who have a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
“There will be ethical and safety issues to work through, and for a long time, you’ll likely have to have a real medical need to access this technology.”