Elon Musk confirms that within six months, the first chip will be implanted into a human brain using Neuralink | technology

Elon Musk, on Wednesday while presenting the news of his company Neuralink, in San Francisco (California).
Elon Musk, on Wednesday while presenting the news of his company Neuralink, in San Francisco (California).Neuralink (RR.SS.)

“I could have a device implanted now and they wouldn’t even know it.” On Wednesday, Elon Musk presented the latest development from his company Neuralink, which makes brain-implantable chips that, he confirmed, could conduct its first human testing in 2023. The joke caused laughter from those present. “Hypothetically, it could be one of those test samples,” he added, halfway between banter and seriousness. The man who in recent weeks has angered the American left, had a brief confrontation with Apple and turned Twitter upside down, has left his role as provocateur for a few hours to put on the mask of a visionary entrepreneur focused on technological advancement.

In 2021, Neuralink published a video of a monkey playing Pong, an Atari Console video game, which copied the dynamics of table tennis. A viral sensation with over six million views, it wasn’t just Grandma who was called a primate pagerHe interacts with the game, but controls the controls with his eyes. He was messing with his brain. Musk’s team had implanted two chips on either side of his head six months ago. “At first we trained him to play with a controller, but then we took it off and brought in Neuralink,” Musk explained.

They’ve been working hard, Musk said, but they’re finally ready to start human testing. “Obviously we want to be very careful and make sure it’s going to work before we put it inside a human,” he said. The businessman reported that they had already complied with the necessary paperwork before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the body responsible for approving the use of medicines, surgical products and procedures for the public. “I think maybe within six months we’ll be able to put the first Neuralink into a human,” Musk said, to applause. The conference was followed by tens of thousands of people around the world.

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Elon Musk holds the chip that his company Neuralink plans to implant in the human skull to measure brain activity and other applications, when he introduces it, in 2021.
Elon Musk holds the chip that his company Neuralink plans to implant in the human skull to measure brain activity and other applications, when he introduces it, in 2021.France Press agency

Someone specifically asked Musk on Twitter about the consequences of inserting a chip the size of a 25-cent coin into a human brain. “Once you’re in there, there’s a lot of things you can do, a lot of health monitoring,” Musk responded. He added, “You can measure body temperature to detect fever early…to detect stroke early because you will see electrical impulses from the brain, like a short circuit.”

However, Musk believes that the first benefit of the Neuralink implant will be vision restoration. “Even in cases of people who could never see, who were born blind, we think we can restore their vision because the visual cortex is still there. We are sure we can make them see.” However, medical experts take these kinds of claims at a distance and wholly healthy disbelief.

photo pager It gained significance on Wednesday, when Neuralink devoted an extensive tech show to talking about its progress in recent months. There has been talk of the development of a robot that inserts the chip into the brain, known as Link or R1 (which was introduced in 2020), to purification of tungsten needles, whose production time has been significantly reduced, pointing to future series production.

The company has been approved by the Stanford Neuroscience Institute, which said on Wednesday it had successfully communicated the brain activity of two monkeys using a computer, through Bluetooth signals. These images of macaques showed that they typed telepathically using a keyboard, without using their limbs. They were actually just moving their mouse pointer over the letters, but they had the ability to do that via brain waves. “This could be useful for paraplegics, who can control a mouse or a phone,” the entrepreneur ventured.

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The team managed to get the monkeys to focus their attention on the screen without being distracted, and gave them a banana milkshake that kept them lollipop while their eyes remained fixed on the screen, just like humans with their cellphones. “We’re already robots in a way,” Musk said, “because computers and phones are extensions of the self.”

In the coming months, this primate test set will be expanded to include six monkeys, with pager Receive updates. Musk emphasized that the semiconductor technology, which has thousands of channels to record information about the stimulus, lasts “for a long time without degradation.” Correct and continuous updating is what allows access to new functions. It was this modernization that allowed pager Use the keyboard. Before testing the technology on monkeys, the company ran experiments on sheep and pigs.

One of the brief videos shows the process with which the company’s robot presents the semiconductor at the peak of the head. It does this with a quick puncture in milliseconds. Next comes a process in which the wires that allow transmission to external receivers are inserted. These are thin cables, the thickness of which is no more than the thickness of a hair. In the first product, 64 of these cables were laid in about 15 minutes. The hole is so soft that the company’s team confirmed that this procedure wouldn’t be able to damage a grape.

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