After a long wait for Neuralink’s live on Friday (28), Elon Musk finally revealed the first details about the chip that intends to connect the human brain to computers. The idea is that the device is glued – literally – to your skull, and that it can perform functions similar to those of a wearable device, such as a smartwatch, for example.
In addition to the functions of common wearables, Neuralink’s interest is to provide solutions for neurological conditions, such as loss of memory, hearing or vision, and even diseases such as depression and anxiety.
Of course, there is still a long way to go before that happens. Currently, the chip is being tested on animals – during the presentation, Musk showed how the implant is able to read brain activity in pigs, while a guinea pig sniffed the floor of a small pen mounted on stage.
The architecture of the project received several advances in the last year, moving from a device with several considerably extensive branches to a small chip, with 1,024 small electrodes with a thickness less than one tenth of a hair, which are allocated in a cavity made in the skull.
In addition to reading brain activity, these electrodes are also capable of sending information to the brain, stimulating neurons and inducing reactions to electrical impulses.
According to Musk, the implant will not be visible – the result, after the surgery, would be just a small scar, which would be covered by the hair. The chip would have a battery for a whole day, and could be charged easily at night, by induction, just like if you carry an Apple Watch, for example.
The surgery would be done by a very nice robot (the one in the print below), similar to a sewing machine, which would be responsible for inserting the small needles into your brain. The procedure could be done in one morning, and you could leave the hospital in the afternoon – without the need for general anesthesia.
Neuralink has received the designation of an “innovative device” from the FDA, and is resolving some outstanding issues with safety testing to later initiate the first human implants.
And it is with this news, and this Friday’s demonstration, that Elon Musk intends to get people interested in the project to work on improving the chip. According to him, the company looks for neuroscientists, engineers, robotics specialists and even professionals who take care of animals during the process. Interested parties can apply on the Neuralink website.
But, so, would you put such a chip in your brain?