Elon Musk's Neuralink wants to insert sensors in human brains to treat brain disease

It's also looking into human enhancement where human brains will be able to communicate with computers.


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.

Founded in 2016 by Elon Musk along with a team of eight other people the company is based out of San Francisco and they want to make devices that will be able to treat serious brain diseases and help paraplegic people. They are also looking into human enhancement where human brains will be able to communicate with computers. However, most of their work and ideas have been very secretive. Until now.

Today, in an ongoing live stream, Elon Musk has put forth his ideas to the world in the form of a brown and white rat. A wire was attached to its head and transmitted its thoughts to a computer where one could see and hear the crackle of its neurons.

Elon Musks Neuralink wants to insert sensors in human brains to treat brain disease

Neuralink founder Elon Musk. Image credit: Reuters

The start-up is seeking Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to start human clinical trials to put their studies to the test.

The wire system embedded in a laboratory rat Image credit: Neuralink

The wire system embedded in a laboratory rat Image credit: Neuralink

Simply put, they want to drill holes in the skulls of paralysed patients and insert implants that will allow them to control computers and phones using their mains.

Neuralink, in a paper published on Tuesday, said that they have successfully conducted at least 19 surgeries on animals with robots and placed wires or what they call ‘threads’ 87 percent of the times.

Representational image. Credit: Neuralink

Representational image. Credit: Neuralink

These threads are extremely flexible and are four to six μm in width which is thinner than a human hair. Neuralink is also developing a machine that will automatically embed these threads into the human brain.  These threads will be able to transfer high volumes of data as many as “3,072 electrodes per array distributed across 96 threads,” according to a paper credited to Elon Musk and Neuralink.

However, a lot of experiments that work on animals and in this the rat, may not actually work on human beings.

But the two main obstacles in the journey for Neuralink will be to get the approvals of the FDA and find patients that are ready to be experimented on.

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