Tech

The world’s chronic disease cannot be cured by anyone, Elon Musk said that Neuralink chip implantation in the brain will definitely cure

The human brain is arguably the most complex biological structure that has ever existed – at least up to this point and in the universe as we know it. To help us decipher and understand this immense complexity, researchers in the field of neuroscience are pioneering their way.

Recently, they took a significant step forward when they successfully reconstructed a functional map containing 85 billion neurons and more than 100 trillion connections between them. To give you an idea of ​​the numbers, the entire Milky Way galaxy we live in has 400 billion stars.

And not only in theory, the field of neuroscience is also moving very fast on the road to application. Typically, the Neuralink project of billionaire Elon Musk – a startup company founded in 2016 in Silicon Valley with the mission of implanting a chip in the human brain to establish a brain-computer interface (Brain-Computer Interface). .

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Neuralink claims the applications of their technology are boundless, from reading people’s minds, converting thoughts into text, helping paralyzed people control computers or even robotic arms.

Elon Musk also opens up a prospect when chips implanted in the brain will one day allow humans to evolve to the point of symbiosis with artificial intelligence.

The applications of Neuralink are so deep and wide that the billionaire does not hesitate to declare, the chip his company is developing “sure” will cure tinnitus. And while you might think it’s funny to compare something as trivial as tinnitus to the perspective of symbiosis with artificial intelligence, you’d be wrong.

Tinnitus is a chronic disease that affects billions of people around the world and there is no cure for it. It all comes down to where we don’t fully understand the intricacies of the brain: Where the buzzing, high-pitched sounds are created by the brain itself as an illusion, even though our ears don’t hear it at all. see them?

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Let’s talk about Neuralink’s chip first

It was a device named “Link”, which was about the size of a dime. There are a total of 3,072 electrodes connected with micro-conductors, each about 5-6 nm thin, which is 1/20 the diameter of a human hair.

In the Link transplant into the human brain, electrode fibers will be “stitched” straight to the surface of the brain by an advanced surgical robot that Neuralink itself is developing. The robotic arm can be so precise that it cancels out even subtle vibrations, transmitted from a patient’s heart beating to their brain, or from breathing in their chest.

In his statements, Elon Musk said Neuralink’s robotic surgical arm will make it simple and easy to implant a chip in the brain, just like when you go for eye surgery to correct myopia.

Now, once the patient has Link implanted in the brain, the chip will do the job of receiving the electrical signals emitted by the cerebral cortex, and then transfer these signal packets to an external computer using the connection. Bluetooth.

The computer decodes the signals in the patient’s brain. Depending on the purpose and location where Link is implanted, these signals will be used to control the mouse pointer, type text or control a robotic arm.

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The Link device and the robotic arm that Neuralink is developing.

Conversely, because Link is a brain-computer interface, it can also receive signals that are transmitted from the outside. These signals could theoretically stimulate the brain in specific patterns.

Right now, technologies similar to Link are being used to treat epilepsy, where chips can send out electrical signals to calm a patient’s seizures. It is also being used for patients with Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression.

In the future, back-and-forth communication between the brain, Link and the computer could realize Elon Musk’s vision, which is to allow the brain and the computer to perform neural processing that supports each other. In other words, we can symbiosis with computers, with artificial intelligence running on them.

But that is still a matter of the future, for now, let’s see what Link has done?

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Chip Link will be “stitched” to the inside of the skull, above the cortical surface like this.

Animal tests

Neuralink was founded in 2016 and by 2018 they had successfully built a prototype of the Link chip and a surgical robotic arm, and used them to attach the chip to the brain of a mouse.

The test became the first proof that Elon Musk’s idea could work.

In 2020, they went one step further when they successfully attached the Link chip to the brain of a pig named Gertrude. An online demonstration during the COVID-19 pandemic showed that the Link chip is capable of transmitting and receiving signals with a computer.

Specifically, it was able to correctly locate Gertrude’s limbs while the pig was walking on a treadmill. The chip also records other complex neural activities, such as when a pig searches for food.

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