Science

Neuralink: Elon Musk wants to give sight to the blind and make the paralyzed walk

While he fights TwitterTwitter, his new toy, Elon Musk is not putting off his other innovative projects. This is the case of Neuralink, runrun who wants to develop implantimplant cerebral so that humans can eventually merge their thoughts with machines and, in particular, with artificial intelligence.

It is thanks to the achievements of NeuralinkElon MuskElon Musk did the show for two hours at a conference held that evening. For a billionaire, technology is now perfect. It is just awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the US health authority, to begin human trials. He hopes they can start within six months. But above all, Elon Musk seeks to seduce, once again scoring that these implants are designed to revolutionize the lives of people with disabilities.

Neuralink intends to restore sight to the blind and make people with spinal cord injuries walk. Experiments have already been carried out on animals such as monkeys. So in the video (tweet below) we can see monkeys named Sake and Pager typing text or playing pong in front ofa computera computer thought. But this progress was not always followed by trials. Placement of the implant directly into brain cavitybrain cavity is irreversible and has proven fatal to some guinea pigs. It must be said that the chip integrated into scullscull equipped with thousandselectrodeselectrodes thinner than hair implanted on the outer surface brainbrain. All this is controlled by the N1 chip. It communicates with the outside world wirelessly and also charges wirelessly.

Walk the disabled

As for making people with limited mobility walk, Neuralink has done experiments by implanting electrodes in spinal cordspinal cord pigs. The researchers were able to control various movementsmovements legs with an implant. A process that could allow paralyzed people to regain the ability to walk and use their arms. The Neuralink chip is able to intercept movement commands from the brain and send them to the legs. She also knows how to receive sensory signals from her limbs so that the brain can interpret them. For the blind, another experiment with the monkey added elements captured by the camera in its field of view. It is with this technology that Neuralink hopes to develop prosthesisprosthesis vision for the blind.

In this video, Elon Musk talks about the progress made by Neuralink and announces that the first human trials could take place within six months. © YouTube, Neuralink

The company plans to improve the process by increasing the number of electrodes. While the first generation worked with 1024 electrodes, the new generation reaches 16,000. With such a network, this makes it possible to obtain 32,000 electrodes. pixelpixel to create a very clear image in a blind person. If Neuralink is not the only company floorfloor on brain-machine interfaces, he remains the only one who can implement them in weightweight. To do this, the startup created robotrobot R1 is able to insert electrodes into the brain without damaging the blood vessels. A new version of this robot is in development. He could go further and handle most operationoperation necessary for implantation, including for opening the skull.

Invasive Surgery

But what Neurolink is silent about is that its process remains invasiveinvasive and that there is no turning back once the chip is implanted. This is what worries medical professionals. In any case, this does not seem to frighten Elon Musk, who sees even further than it makes the disabled walk with a motor or gives sight to the blind. He imagines that he is benefiting from his implant, and wishes that in the future, everyone could have these implants in order to be able to combine and better control the AI ​​of the future.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink project worries scientists a lot

Widely promoted by Elon Musk, Neuralink is set to begin the first trials of its brain implant on human volunteers this year. However, many scientists have questions about bioethicsbioethicsdata security and usage, as well as the future of implanted chips after the end of the trial period.

Article Edward BackEdward Back published February 2, 2022

A direct neural interface is Elon Musk’s promise to help people with disabilities. As his company Neuralink prepares for its first human trials (after pigs and monkeys), The Daily Beast interviewed scientists who expressed concerns about such a project.

Laura Cabrera, a neuroethicist at Pennsylvania State University, wonders if implants can be removed without damaging the brain. “If something goes wrong, we really won’t have the technology to ‘exploit’ them. And what is durationduration implant lifetime? Will Neuralink subsequently offer updates to members?

Can Neuralink keep its promises?

For Karola Keritmire, assistant professor of medical history and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, future commercial spin-offs are problematic. “I’m worried about the awkward marriage between a commercial company… and these medical interventions that hopefully will help people. Neuralink says it is developing its implant to help people with disabilities, but the market is quite small, which could cause profitability issues.

A direct neural interface may be of interest to the general public for controlling devices with the help of the brain, for example, for driving a Tesla with the help of thought. “But then all these human objects — people with real needs — are exploited and used in risky research for someone’s commercial gain,” said L. Sid Johnson of the Center for Bioethics and the Humanities at Sani Medical University North.

He also expresses doubts about the firm’s stated goals. “If Neuralink claims to be able to use their device for therapeutic purposes to help people with disabilities, they make unrealistic promises because they don’t have all the capabilities. »

What will happen to the collected data?

Scientists are also concerned about the use of information gathered by the implant. Who will have access to them and what will happen to the data if Neuralink is acquired? There is also the issue of device security, namely the risks of hacking and devastating consequences for the victim if an attacker takes possession of his implant. If this kind of technology becomes widespread, how about governments or corporations using it for mass surveillance?

The scientists interviewed are not necessarily opposed to the technology, but are particularly wary of the many possible abuses and hope that the project’s notoriety will force Neuralink to be very careful and do everything by the rules. An implant could change the lives of paralyzed people, and Elon Musk’s firm isn’t the only one working on neural interfaces.

Neuralink: First human trials to begin in 2022, Elon Musk says

Nothing seems to stop visionary Elon Musk, boss of Tesla and SpaceXSpaceX, which plans with its company Neuralink to implant chips in the human brain from 2022. Initially, these brain implants will be designed for people with disabilities to allow them to control computers with their minds. mergermerger The man works with the machine.

Futura article with ETX Daily Up published on 10/12/2021

Elon Musk hopes that by 2022 he will be able to implant chips in the human brain with the help of his company Neurolink. This chip, already tested on monkeys, allows recording and stimulating brain activity. It is intended for medical use. Initially, it should allow people with disabilities physicalphysical restore the ability to move.

Computer control of thought becomes a reality

In a short interview with Elon Musk in the Wall Street Journal on the occasion of the Board of Directors summit, the American entrepreneur spoke about his Neuralink project. The CEO announced that Neuralink hopes to start human trials as early as 2022. However, he must wait for the approval of the Food and Drug Administration, which issues warrants for the sale of drugs.

The first human trials were delayed for several years. The first date was scheduled for the end of 2020, then moved to 2021, and now to 2022. Neuralink has created an electronic chip device implanted directly into the brain to control digital devices or even reduce motor impairment.

“We hope to be able to implant this device in our first people — people with severe spinal cord injuries such as tetraplegiatetraplegia or paralyzed – next year, subject to FDA approval, Neuralink’s CEO said. And, I must say, our device implantation standards are significantly higher than those of FDAFDA. Similarly, our safety standards with Tesla are much higher than what the US government requires.”

Pager, a 9-year-old monkey, mentally plays pong. © Neuralink

The brain is stimulated by electrodes

The N1 Link is a 1024-channel device that Neuralink has manufactured for therapeutic use by patients. Once the device is implanted in a patient’s brain, it is expected to transmit data invisibly over a wireless connection. Neuralink has been testing monkeys for several years now with encouraging results.

Neuralink: Watch Monkey Pager Play the Pong Video Game Mentally

The video shows, for example, a monkey named Pager being able to play pong just by the power of his mind. Marvelous! This chip works by implanting electrodes in the area of ​​the brain that controls movement before being connected to a larger network. The system will then process, stimulate, and transmit neural signals to control movement.

“This chip is infinitely small, so thin that human hands cannot handle it”

This chip is infinitely small and, according to Neuralink, so thin that human hands cannot handle it. That’s why the company is simultaneously developing robots that can place them exactly where the brain is.

Elon Musk is cautiously optimistic about the future of N1 Link. He believes the Neuralink device could help people with severe spinal cord injuries. In the long run, these chips could have even more amazing functionality. But as the promises keep getting longer…

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