Elon Musk hopes to implant a Neuralink computer in the human brain as early as 2023

Although Elon Musk has been busy these past few weeks on Twitter, that hasn’t stopped his other company Neuralink from making big progress. It aims to create implants that allow a direct line of communication between the human brain and computers.

Neuralink, the neurotech startup led by tweeter-in-chief Elon Musk, presented its long-awaited and oft-delayed tech demo this morning. Last year, the company made waves after showing a monkey playing Thought Pong. At this moment, Neuralink goes even further.

What is Neuralink?

First, a quick reminder of what Neuralink is. The company founded in 2016 by Elon Musk aims to develop a system that directly connects the human brain to a computer interface. The billionaire believes that this technology, part of which is directly implanted in the brainwill one day allow the human mind to control gadgets and programs with just thoughtwhich could open up a new world for people with brain diseases and conditions such as paralysis.

concern of neuralink
Credits: Neuralink

Using this technology, the company initially hopes to help people with brain damage communicate and move around. Elon Musk also said that he was convinced that Neuralink can restore sight even if a man had never seen before and was born blind.

Elon Musk repeated on stage that the way we use our smartphones and computers is ineffective, because we currently depend on several factors, including the speed of our fingers to type on keyboards. Therefore, it does not allow us to exchange data at high speed, and therefore take advantage of the full power of our machines. Thanks to Neuralink, which will allow direct communication with our devices, it will be possible to communicate faster.

Also read – Elon Musk’s Neuralink implant is dangerous for humans according to these scientists

Elon Musk shows a monkey typing on a virtual keyboard by thinking

Until now, Neuralink has only tested its implant on monkeys, which were trained to play Pong. With two Neuralinks chips implanted in the motor cortex area of ​​his brain, the monkey was able to play Pong using only his brain. It was then possible for him to move the cursors by thought.

neuralink monkey pong
Credits: Neuralink

In today’s talk, Neuralink demonstrated another monkey that mentally manipulates an on-screen keyboard. That’s pretty amazing on its own, even though Elon Musk jokingly clarified that Sake the Monkey is just moving a cursor on a virtual keyboard. In fact, being a monkey, he could not write. Other videos of Sake in action showed the monkey manipulating his virtual keyboard while selecting his treat to complete his task.

Obviously, Elon Musk wants to reassure viewers about animal welfare. ” It’s important to show that Sake really likes demoing. He wasn’t tied to a chair or anything. Monkeys really like to show off. And they get banana smoothies, so it’s a fun game. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we care about animal welfare. And I’m sure our monkeys are pretty happy said Musk.

Neuralink wants to test its implant on humans within 6 months

Perhaps the biggest announcement from the conference was about human trials. Elon Musk says Neuralink wants to start human clinical trials within six months, and one of its first target applications was the restoration of vision. However, these tests on humans must first be approved by the competent authorities.

We want to be very careful and make sure it works well before we put a device on someone, but we’ve submitted, I think, most of our paperwork to the FDA and we think probably within six months will we can do it. to have our first Neuralink in a human said Musk. In this moment, Neuralink received a Breakthrough Device Designation from the agency in July 2020. This program gives patients and caregivers faster access to promising treatments and medical devices by expediting their development and regulatory testing.

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