A tech-start up owned by Elon Musk has been working on a technology, similar to FitBit, which will be a machine interace with your brain. The neural tech company, Neuralink’s AI-powered brain chip is best described by Elon Musk as “a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.” Apparently, a needle like device is going to poke threads about 1 millimeter into the outer surface of the brain. Talk about hair weaving. Here is our exclusive story on this brain fitbit…
What Is Neuralink?
Headquartered in San Francisco, the Neuralink team consists of 100 people trying to develop the computer-brain interface. The aim is to increase the rate of information from the human brain to machine. The tech start-up has been working on a ‘brain-machine interface’ which consists of a tiny chip implanted in the skull that can read and write brain activity.
The chip is connected to ultra-thin flexible wires- each around 5 microns thick. It contains a total of 1,024 electrodes- which can read or write brain activity sensing or stimulating neurons.
Musk has always made claims about how technology could surprise us. He predicted that it would create ‘symbiosis’ between the human mind and the computer. Musk wanted people to save and play memories, blindness, memory loss, or other neurological diseases. He even acknowledged that this sounds like a ‘Black Mirror’ episode. He is building technology to use satellites to connect humans with animals. Spooky much?
Here Is How Neuralink Will Work?
The Brain FitBit will use floppy wires which are thinner than hair strands and be a better solution because they are less likely going to inflame the issue. The only problem that could arise is that they can be difficult to thread into the brain. But Neuralink is well-prepared, they found a device similar to a sewing machine that could use a stuff needle to poke the threads into place about 1 millimeter into the outer surface of the brain. This is a significant innovation.
Neuralink developed a precision robot that could surgically install the chip underneath the skull and feed the wires so it does not damage it accidentally by puncturing blood vessels. Musk claimed that this procedure takes hours and leaves nothing but a small scar.
Neuralink’s chips recorded which areas of the brain are stimulated when we use our senses then the electrodes use this information to stimulate the brains of people using robotic prostheses to stimulate.
Neuroscientists believe Neuralink has a long way to go from delivering; it is considered optimistic as brain-machine interface could be used to treat neurological issues such as Parkinson’s or spinal cord injuries. This technology could tackle neurodegenerative disorders like dementia.
He held a live demo showing off its ability to read the brain activity of a pig with a surgically implanted chip that transmits data wirelessly. He predicted that technology would one day give people telepathy, cure paralysis, and enable vision.
Brain FitBit For Pigs And Monkeys- Musk Tests On ALL!
Elon Musk in a presentation showed the viewers a bizarre and dystopian demo where the chip could analyze the brain activity of pigs- who are often used in research because their brains closely resemble the anatomy of a human brain.
The demo involved pigs like ‘Joyce,’ who did not have the chip implanted ‘Dorothy,’ who did but removed it, and ‘Gertrude’ who had the chip for more than two months also others who had dual chips implanted.
The attendees got to see real-time signals from Gertrude’s brain link- they detected spikes of neural activity in her snout which lit the screen up. They also showed a video of pigs on a treadmill to predict the position of a pig’s limbs by sensing its brain activity; the pigs did it almost perfectly.
Musk said Brain FitBit had gotten a ‘breakthrough device’ approval from the Food and Drug administration which will help speed up the research and development. The demo was all glam but the scientists are waiting for Neuralink to publish more research on the chip and algorithms to support the hype.
Not all is great! Here are some of the challenges.
The neuroscientists and bioengineers involved in Neuralink’s work have made recent breakthroughs in building mind-controlled robotic arms. What is impressive about Neuralink is notably the ‘sewing machine’- which is developed to insert ultra-thin wires into the brain.
A big challenge would be developing materials that could be safely inserted into a human brain for long periods without deteriorating themselves or causing infections.
They have been working on designing an algorithm that can interpret the data and design a way to insert the wires deep into the brain so that the can chip can access more activity.
Let’s hold on to that thought- there also arises major security, privacy, political, legal, and ethical issues. Implanting a chip in someone’s head that reads their brain data and controls their physical movements such as sight, smell, and hearing through a mobile app could very well go wrong.
Musk mentioned in an interview that he had a monkey wired up to play videos with its mind through Neuralink. They put a computer chip inside the monkey’s skull and tiny wires to connect it. He wanted to figure out if he can use the chips to get monkeys to play ‘mind pong’ with each other.
AI - What is The Future?
The chip connected to the wires is capable of recording brain activity and stimulating it. He was excited to announce that the company was successful in controlling the mind of the monkeys and wanted to start human testing the next year.
Artificial Intelligence is going to get smarter and this technology could surpass human intelligence. Neuralink will allow humans to send concepts to one another through telepathy. Musk wants to implant the chips into quadriplegics so they can control a computer mouse or phone or just any device by thinking.
Lil Uzi Vert and Grimes have been planning to get the ‘brain chips’ together. They want to understand how the interface into the human brain could treat neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Musk tweeted how the human trials could happen later this year. Both of them were intrigued to get the chips. Would you be interested as well?