Earlier this week, Neuralink, the Elon Musk-led company growing brain-machine interfaces, demonstrated that they are working on”threads” in a processor to help paralyzed men and women control devices like phones or computers and empower people with brain disorders. The goal is to replace clumsy devices currently employed as brain-machine interfaces. As a matter of fact, at 4 to 6μm, the threads are somewhat thinner than the thinnest of human hair follicles. Moreover, the company has built a robot that automatically embeds these threads.
To this end, Neuralink says it has developed a new way of embedding electrodes in the brain utilizing miniature insulated”threads” that resemble a string of pearls and link into a processor embedded inside the skull. Those threads are designed to be both sturdy enough to pass through brain tissue and also defy degradation, according to the company, while also being flexible enough not to harm tissue once the brain shifts from the skull. That could (and it’s a large could) be a significant advance over current procedures that use needle-like electrodes that could be risky to insert or provide degrading performance over time.
And that even in a “benign scenario,” humans would be”left behind.” Consequently, he wants to make technology that allows a”merging with AI.” He later added”we are a brain in a vat, and that vat is our skull,” and hence the goal is to read neural spikes from that brain.
The system introduced now if it’s functional, possibly a substantial advance over older technology. BrainGate relied on the Utah Array, a series of stiff needles that allows for up to 128 electrode channels. Not only is that fewer avenues than Neuralink is promising — meaningless data in mind is being picked up — it is also stiffer than Neuralink’s threads. That’s a problem for long-term functionality: the mind shifts in the skull but the needles of the array don’t, resulting in harm. The slim polymers Neuralink is utilizing may address that issue.
To this moment, the machine has been tested on rats. Musk revealed, “A monkey has been able to control a computer with its brain.” In an interview with The New York Times, Musk also stated that Neuralink is hoping to have this in a human patient after next year. But they haven’t got approved from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet.
Neuralink relies on constructing devices, which resemble such as tiny sewing machines, and they can be implanted in the human mind – to improve memory or port directly with computing devices.