Musk then drew the audiences attention to three pigs in a nearby pen, which was cared for by a keeper nearby. One of the three pigs had no implants in their brains, while the second had a neuralink device called link, which had been previously implanted but later removed. The brain activity of these enhanced pigs can be wirelessly transmitted to nearby computers, allowing viewers to see the neuronal activity of the animals as musk touches the pigs nose.
These goals may seem ambitious, but the technology musk actually demonstrated does not seem abrupt. Since unveiling the mystery last year, neuralink has changed its design to use smaller physical device profiles, musk said. Once installed on the skull, the device can be completely hidden under the hair, he said.
For the four-year-old start-up, the demonstration aims to show that neuralinks brain computer interface technology is moving towards the goal of safe implantation into the human body, possibly helping people with various debilitating diseases, and opening the door to a range of wild science fiction scenes. Among them, musk once said that music can be transmitted directly to someones brain.
It is this ambition that could transform neuralink from an expensive research project into a consumer electronics company, which could justify the $158 million it has invested so far, most of it from musk himself.
The first major disclosure of neuralinks plans and technologies was at a similar event in San Francisco in July 2019. At the time, musk demonstrated an early version of the neuralink implant and revealed that the company had tested it in mice and primates to record and analyze animal neuronal activity through tiny electrodes placed in the animals brain.
The work is similar to what academic researchers and a few companies have been doing for decades. Many of these programs aim to use brain implants to achieve miracles, such as restoring vision for the blind, helping people with paralysis or stroke to communicate, and treating mental health disorders. In fact, people around the world have chosen to accept these implants and recognize their role.
The main argument raised by musk and other neuralink employees is that existing technologies are too dangerous, cumbersome or limited in function to be widely used. Todays most powerful implants require people to undergo high-risk surgery, and patients often only experience the benefits of this technology under the supervision of doctors and experts. In addition, the implants may have a short life span because the brain treats the device as an intruder, forming scar tissue around it and disrupting electrical signals. Neuralink, on the other hand, is trying to create an implant closer to a consumer electronics device that is smaller, cheaper, has less impact on brain tissue and can process more brain data.
Once a part of the skull is removed, the robot begins to put threads into specific parts of the brain so that sensors can be close to neurons and can read clear signals of brain activity. This process takes about 30 minutes, because the robot uses computer vision software, high-end cameras and other technologies to align threads with precision. Musk is not satisfied that the whole process took so long, Max hodak, President of neuralink, said in an interview
In pigs called Gertrude, its hard to see any sign of implants or surgery. The pig, whose wound was fully healed, hopped around in a temporary metal fence in neuralinks office, just like other pigs without implants. But when Gertrude was fed carrots or rubbing his nose, a huge computer screen behind him lit up to show that his neurons were activating and responding to touch. Next, Gertrude farted, which the researchers thought was recognition of interaction.
But the controversial nature of animal experiments and the popularity of its founders have made neuralink the focus of criticism by animal rights activists. The company said the subjects were taken care of by animal husbandry experts and limited testing of primates. To demonstrate the safety of its technology, neuralink has removed implants from some animals and found them back to normal life without significant adverse effects, the company said.
Neuralink once planned to use an implant and another device placed behind the ear to handle things like wireless communications. Now, however, it has tied everything to a small device. Its easier, hodak said The implantable battery can last about 24 hours and can be charged wirelessly like a smartphone. Over time, neuralink wants to reduce the size of the device while improving its computing power.
Musk has previously said neuralink hopes to conduct human trials as early as this year. Of course, this requires regulatory approval and technical safety. This years human trials are something were willing to do, hodake said. This is obviously a matter that cant be done in a hurry. We can do it when we are ready. Although we cant sell it to you as a commodity, its starting to feel more like a product, more specific. Now, we have a Fitbit for the brain.
Holdak denied recent media reports, saying former neuralink employees had revealed that the company might travel to other countries for human trials because of more relaxed regulation. Weve never discussed anything like this, hodake said Neuralink has been awarded breakthrough device status by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means that the agency will respond faster to neuralink filings than before, but it does not mean that human trials have been approved.
Of course, musk also sees the potential for future applications of these implants, such as the ability to create high bandwidth links between people and machines. In the matrix, you may be able to download and learn a language or martial arts immediately, musk says. The ultimate goal, at least for musk, will be to help humans keep pace with the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI). If you cant beat them, join them, Musk said earlier this year, describing neuralinks mission The first clinical trial will focus on patients with paraplegia or quadriplegia caused by cervical spinal cord injury. The plan for the first trial is to recruit a small number of such people to test the effectiveness and safety of the technology. (small) musk demonstrates brain computer technology with live pigs. Source: Netease science and technology report editor in charge: Ding Guangsheng_ NT1941
Of course, musk also sees the potential for future applications of these implants, such as the ability to create high bandwidth links between people and machines. In the matrix, you may be able to download and learn a language or martial arts immediately, musk says. The ultimate goal, at least for musk, will be to help humans keep pace with the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI). If you cant beat them, join them, Musk said earlier this year, describing neuralinks mission
The first clinical trial will focus on patients with paraplegia or quadriplegia caused by cervical spinal cord injury. The plan for the first trial is to recruit a small number of such people to test the effectiveness and safety of the technology. (small)
Musk demonstrated brain computer technology with live pigs