This video grab made from the online Neuralink livestream shows a drawing of the different steps of the implantation of a Neuralink device seen during a presentation on August 28, 2020 Photo: Neuralink
By Nica Osorio
- Musk’s Neuralink was founded in 2016
- Neuralink is a neurotech company developing implantable brain-machine interfaces
- The company developed a surgical robot a few years a
Billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned that his brainchild, Neuralink, could implant a chip into a human brain later this year.
Neuralink, a brain-computer-interface company, could soon transition from studying and operating on monkeys to human trials within 2021, according to Musk. In a Twitter conversation following the release of Neuralink’s latest video, a follower reached out to the business magnate in the hope of getting the chance to be one of the subjects of the company’s clinical studies.
Musk replied that “Neuralink is working super hard to ensure implant safety & is in close communication with the FDA. If things go well, we might be able to do initial human trials later this year.” Musk gave the same timeline in February 2021 after talking about his work with monkey implants. In 2019, Musk noted that the company would be testing humans by the end of 2020.
The company’s ultra-high brain-machine interface is not as simple as it sounds. Neuralink is aiming to develop a “fully-implanted, wireless, high-channel-count brain-machine interface.” This machine intends to enable people with paralysis to “directly use their neural activity to operate computers and mobile devices with speed and ease.”
In 2020, Neuralink revealed that it would utilize a surgical robot to embed thin thread-like wires into a human brain and linked to an external processing unit. To make this possible, scientists developed over 3,000 electrodes attached to flexible threads that could monitor around 1000 neurons. Neuralink performed successful tests of this technology on mice.
Last year, Musk confirmed that the technology could soon be used to stream music directly into human brains, in response to an inquiry from a Twitter user. The Tesla CEO also believes that the technology “would solve a lot of brain/spine injuries & is ultimately essential for AI symbiosis.” As for the end goal of Neuralink, Musk has mentioned allowing humans to merge with artificial Intelligence.