Elon Musk Unveils Neuralink With Chip Implant on Pig's Brain
It’s one of those days that feel more like an early episode of Black Mirror.
Today, Elon Musk unveiled more details about his startup -- Neuralink. The tech entrepreneur showed off a pig whose brain activity was uploaded to a Neuralink device.
As Gertrude the pig snuffled around a pen, munching on snacks, and mostly ignoring the scientists ‘studying’ its brain, Musk again explained the idea behind Neuralink: a digital link between brains and computers.
Ideally, it will pave the way for computers to use data culled from a person’s neural activity to communicate back to the brain.
‘Fitbit’ but For The Brain
“It’s like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires,” Musk said.
According to The Guardian, the Fitbit-like chip was fit into a small cavity hollowed out of a hole in Gertrude’s skull. There, the chip will communicate with brain cells using thin electrodes positioned on the outer layer of the brain.
“It actually fits quite nicely in your skull,” Musk mused. “It could be under your hair and you wouldn’t know.”
The disk then plots data points in the nerve activity, relaying information over Bluetooth wireless signals to a smartphone or computer nearby.
Meanwhile, another pig, a female called Dorothy, was also introduced to the public. Musk said Dorothy had one of the Neuralink devices implanted in its brain and then subsequently removed.
“What Dorothy illustrates is that you can put in the Neuralink, remove it, and be healthy, happy, and indistinguishable from a normal pig.”
Clinical Trials Ongoing
If successful, Musk’s Neuralink technology could potentially help people regain their senses or mobility after suffering from medical conditions involving the central nervous system.
“If you can sense what people want to do with their limbs, you can do a second implant where the spinal injury occurred and create a neural shunt, Musk said. “I’m confident in the long term it’ll be possible to restore somebody’s full body mention.”
According to NDTV, regulators awarded Musk’s innovation a ‘breakthrough device’ designation last month, making great strides towards clinical trials.