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Elon Musk startup plans to connect you to a machine
Elon Musk’s neurotechnology startup company Neuralink came out of stealth mode on Tuesday, after operating in the secret for two years. The debut was marked with livestreamed presentations detailing the company’s progress so far in connecting the human brain to machines.
Along with top scientists from the San Francisco-based company, Musk released many details of the system it hopes to implant into people’s brain one day. Information shared also includes how the system would, in the first place, reach the patient’s brain – by using lasers to shoot electrodes into their skull.
The most crucial phase in the technology is the process of capturing signals transmitted around the person’s skull and transmitting the signals to an external device. Neuralink is developing flexible threads of electrodes to get that done. Each thread, bundled with several electrodes, is planted into the brain, precisely at the Axon Dendron junctions called synapses, where it is able to pick signals from neurotransmitters to a computer.
Instead of drilling holes into the person’s skull to access their brains, the company is at the moment placing the threads using thin needles guided by a computer-vision system, Neuralink President Max Hodak told the New York Times.
“We developed this robot that can rapidly and precisely insert hundreds of individual threads representing a thousand of distinct electrodes into the cortex in less than an hour,” the company explained during the event. “The tool allows the surgeon to aim between the blood vessels that cover the surface of the brain with micron-scale precision.”