The name Elon Musk is often associated with bizarre tech. Electric cars, rockets that will go to Mars, hyper-speed travel through holes…
Yesterday however, Musk helped show off yet another project he has backed – Neuralink.
Neuralink is a, erm, well we guess the best descriptor is a brain technology company. The company hopes to better understand brain disorders, enhance the capabilities of our own brains and more with threads and a sewing machine.
This is highly simplified of course. Neuralink has actually created a robot that is able to implant tiny threads which are actually sensors. The sensors then feed information back to a chip where that data can be accessed.
The threads are tiny, as in 4 – 6 micrometres wide. This is to avoid interfering with blood vessels in the brain. The threads are also flexible.
The threads reportedly sit alongside neurons, not in them according to Engadget. This allows a person to send and receive communication with the the brain. In addition there is a device that sits outside of your skull that contains wireless tech, batteries and everything else the system needs.
For now the technology works very much like brain surgery in that your skull needs to be drilled into but the hope is that this can be replaced by lasers. During a presentation, Musk said that the hope was that Neuralink surgery would be similar to something like LASIK eye surgery.
The caveat here is that work on human subjects is only expected to begin next year. That having been said, Musk adds that an ape had been able to control a computer with its brain.
The idea behind this technology – at least for now – is to help folks that have disabilities but in future Musk argues that in order for humans and artificial intelligence to enjoy a symbiotic relationship, we will have to be able to interface with machines.
You can watch the full livestream detailing Neuralink in a more technical manner at this link.