Musk talks in more detail about the brain chips his company is developing

SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke in more detail about the brain chips that

is developing his startup. The ultimate goal of chip technology is to provide direct communication between the brain and the computer.

What are these chips?

It's about the startup Neuralink, which is working onthe technology of connecting the human brain to a computer system. Previously, almost nothing was known about the company's work, it was called Musk's "secret" project. The main goal of the company is to develop a technology that will allow to implant electronic interfaces to paralyzed people, so that they can use computers and smartphones for communication.

On July 17, 2019, the first Neuralink presentation took place. It showed for the first time what exactly the company is doing and at what stage its research is.

Neuralink scientists plan to usespecial "filaments" 4-6 microns thick each, capable of transmitting information to the main processor. These "threads" will be implanted into the human brain. In theory, you can use them as you please. Here we can really talk about improving human abilities.

The "bundle" of six neuron threads contains 192electrodes, which are implanted into the brain with the help of a robotic surgeon. During the operation, the surgeon tries to avoid interaction with blood vessels, which minimizes inflammation.

Signals that are transmitted by "threads" thensent to the PC using the "adapter" attached to the skull. This device is attached to the ear. The exact size of the "adapter" is still unknown, but judging by the sketch shown by the company, it is smaller than the auricle and flattened from the sides. Ultimately, according to Musk, it is planned to be able to create a "symbiont" - a human brain, enhanced by artificial intelligence.

Image: Neuralink

Who is the chip being developed for?

The main goal of Neuralink is to create a secureneurointerface capable of capturing brain activity and processing signals without the risk of rejection by the body. It will help in the study and treatment of neurological diseases and disorders of the brain, restoration of motor functions, treatment of blindness, paralysis, epilepsy, depression, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Needle feed. Image: Neuralink

With Neuralink, paralyzed people cancontrol phones and computers with the power of thought, for example, write messages, browse websites, or communicate "telepathically" as soon as "the technology works both ways."

In the future, the company plans to create a miniature wireless implant, and its implantation, according to company representatives, will not be more difficult and painful than Lasik, laser vision correction surgery.

In 2020, Neuralink plans to receiveapproval from the US Department of Health and, together with neuroscientists at Stanford University, conduct the first trials on paralyzed patients.

Musk said the technology "can also extend the range of hearing beyond normal frequencies and amplitudes."

In addition to this feature, the entrepreneur said that the owners of the new chip will be able to broadcast music directly to their brains. The formulation can also be used to regulate hormone levels.

The first iterations of the Neuralink device may beused to help people suffering from neurological and brain disorders such as Parkinson's, though Musk ultimately hopes the technology will allow humans to compete with artificial intelligence.

The first human clinical trials were scheduled to begin in 2020.

More information on Neuralink will be revealed at the 28 August event.

How much does development cost?

The company received funding from investors. We are talking about $ 150 million, of which $ 100 million was provided by Elon Musk himself. The company currently employs 90 people.

What's the bottom line?

Despite investor and government interestThe United States to the field of neurobiological startups, not everyone risks investing in implantation, writes The Wall Street Journal. Joshua Wolf, co-founder and managing partner of Lux Capital, said that he “can't even think about technologies that involve drilling holes behind the ears.”

Neuralink President Max Hodak admits: the road to the development of technology will be very long. To get started, a company not only needs a test permit, but also huge support from engineers and scientists. “We have no illusion that we will be able to conduct all scientific research on our own,” he said.

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