Elon Musk Plans to Start Putting Chips in Human Brains Next Year

Thursday, 18 Jul, 2019

It's now developing tiny processors that will connect to your brain via tiny threads significantly thinner than human hair (about 4 to 6 μm in width).

Elon Musk announced that his Neuralink startup will begin testing a brain-computer interface on humans by next year.

Referring to the 4×4 millimeter chip as a brain-machine interface, the implant would allow willing humans achieve a "symbiosis with artificial intelligence".

Details about those planned applications remain sparse, but Neuralink briefly presented some of its first rodent data from ultrasmall electrodes at the event. So far it has been done in rats, and according to Musk, "a monkey has been able to control the computer with its brain".

Musk unveiled the developments Tuesday during a presentation at his neuro-technology firm, where he detailed how "very tiny microchips" could be implanted by a "sewing machine-like" robot via a 2 millimeter incision into the skull.

SpaceX's Elon Musk fourth company, Neuralink is trying to make sci-fi movies a reality where human beings are more than just their human shell.

The flexible threads are actually thin sandwiches of a cellophane-like material that insulates conductive wires that link a series of minute electrodes, or sensors, much like a strand of pearls.

Benn Lamm, the CEO of Hypergiant, a company that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence in their products, believes that Neuralink may be solving a problem humanity may not fully understand. These threads additionally create the possibility of transferring a higher volume of data, according to a white paper credited to "Elon Musk & Neuralink". Along with developing the threads, Neuralink's different significant advance is a machine that automatically embeds them.

The tiny chip, which measures 4x4mm, is connected to a thousand microscopic threads that enter the brain through four holes drilled in.

"This has tremendous potential", Musk said. Mechanical Animals As odd as this sounds, Neuralink might be onto something, as they did a demonstration in which a linked up laboratory rat read information from 1,500 electrodes - 15 times greater than current systems embedded in humans. The company will have to adhere to FDA guidelines but aim to start clinical trials by 2020.

During the Q and A, President Hodar also talked about providing brain enabled APIs for developers to work on and hinted that it can turn into a platform. "This is something that I think will be really important on a civilization-level scale".

"The main reason for doing this presentation is recruiting, he said, asking for those keen to develop the technology to join Neuralink".

Matt McDougall, who serves as Neuralink's head neurosurgeon and is also affiliated with California Pacific Medical Center, had more down-to-earth expectations.