Holes in the skull and strands straight to the brain. How is Elona Muska s Neuralink supposed to work?

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Our favorite eccentric billionaire is a very productive man. Between planning flights to Mars, tunneling under American cities, popularizing electric cars and selling (not) flame throwers, he finally found time to talk about his latest project called Neuralink .

The idea to create a computer interface, directly controlled by thoughts is not new. Unfortunately, our current level of knowledge does not allow for its commercial use. Even if only a few would agree to place an implant in their head, able to read his brain signals just to respond faster to e-mails.

Such interfaces have been tested for a long time

Nevertheless, scientists are still working tirelessly to create an accurate and least invasive method that allows communication between the brain and the computer. The team led by Dr. Nima Mesgarani from Columbia University, who at the beginning of the year presented the first prototype of his system for converting thoughts into text, can boast very promising research results.

Actually, it's for decoding brain signals to speech. For this to work, however, it is necessary to individually calibrate the system for each user, who will also agree to wear electrodes that register his brain activity. The prototype is already working, but its creators themselves admit that without the development of technology for non-invasive registration of neural activity, the idea will not leave the laboratory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jce6rzL3YK8

The American research agency DARPA is also working on similar solutions, which for the needs of the army wants to develop a military interface that connects directly the brains of soldiers with equipment used in the army. DARPA has several successes in this field. It is enough to mention the brain-computer interface that the US research agency presented two years ago. This equipment allowed paralyzed Jan Scheuermann to sit at the controls of the F-35 fighter.

It was true that it was in the simulator, but the piloting of the plane itself was very good. What's more, Scheuermann did not pilot the machine, just like a normal pilot who thinks about the movements of the control stick. Instead, the woman very quickly got used to the fact that the plane responded in a very specific way to the gestures she made. The interface was connected to her movement center, so the word gesture is here in the most appropriate way.

Neuralink will work similarly

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The new project by Muska assumes the development of a miniature chip, called working elastic threads. The name is not accidental, the team of scientists responsible for Neuralink technology wants to install sensors in the brain directly in the form of very thin threads that will read the neuronal activity directly from the brain tissue.

The signal from these threads will be passed to the implant, placed behind the ear, which resembles a somewhat smaller hearing aid. An external device with a built-in processor will decode the signal and send it - via a traditional interface (eg via Bluetooth) to a device paired with it - a smartphone, laptop, etc.

The biggest problem with the implementation of this idea is, of course, placing the same thread in the patient's brain. Initially, this procedure will be performed by a neurosurgeon. In the future, however, Musk wants to simplify him and break through the skull bone with a laser. This treatment is to be cheaper, faster and painless.

Where is this innovation?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA77zsJ31nA

In addition to describing the implant placement itself in the human brain and praising the fact that Neuralink is currently being tested on rats and monkeys, Musk did not reveal any details about the technology itself. We only know that Neuralink is to allow direct contact between computers and the brain. The presentation itself was ... recruitment rather than advertising. Musk is looking for scientists who would like to work on the development of his implant. As for the capabilities of the device, they remain a mystery. Although it would be fair to say that probably no one has thought about this issue yet.

The only thing that distinguishes Neuralink from the background of very similar (often much more advanced) scientific projects is the boldness of Muska himself. The billionaire assumes that people will be willing to undergo invasive implant surgery in order to be able to play with technology in a completely new way. The same boldness can be seen in all the ideas of an eccentric inventor. I personally would not agree to surgical interference in my brain just to write on the computer faster. But maybe I'm weird.

Currently, we only have to wait for the next presentation of Neuralink, on which we will find out what this implant will actually be able to do.



Holes in the skull and strands straight to the brain. How is Elona Muska's Neuralink supposed to work?

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