How do you feel about a chip inside your brain? Many people will recoil in horror as they imagine everything that could go wrong. People can become zombies, lobotomized or even get taken over by hackers that seize control of the implant! Or you can dismiss it as the stuff for Sci-Fi flicks. However, Elon Musk thinks there are many benefits to putting a chip inside the human brain. This is what his company, Neuralink, is all about.
This article looks into how Neuralink works and the potential benefits.
How does Neuralink work?
Neuralink aims to create an interface that will allow the human brain to take advantage of today’s advanced technology and information on the internet by connecting the two.
For people that agree to the procedure, a chipset called the link is implanted in the skull by cutting our an equivalent size of the subject’s skull. The link has a chip attached to tiny flexible threads connected to the brain, which enables communication between the link and the most vital organ in the body. The installation is carried out by a robot and, if done well, is bloodless. The only external evidence is the link, which is the size of a coin.
Other devices like smartphones can then connect wirelessly to the link to receive or send signals.
What progress has Neuralink made with its tech?
Neuralink has carried out experiments using animals. In one of the first public demos, a Neuralink chip was embedded in a pig’s skull, and signals from its brain were displayed for all to see as the animal sniffed around.
The next demo was even more impressive. Using Neuralink, the research team was able to train a monkey to play a game of ping pong using only its mind.
Musk says the technology has been proven to be safe to install, operate, and remove, and Neuralink is ready to start human trials in 2022. He doesn’t envision difficulties getting regulatory approval because he claims his company’s standards are even higher than what FDA requires.
What are the benefits?
According to Musk, the possibilities are endless. It can help paralyzed people walk again. People who have suffered spinal cord injuries or have neurological disorders will benefit from the technology. Neuralink can help them control their phones with only their minds even when they can’t walk or move their arms.
Neuralink can also help people with speaking disability form their thoughts into words using their smartphones.
In addition to all the above purported benefits, Musk has also said that technology can help in curing depression.