On Wednesday night, Elon Musk held a spectacular event for one of his businesses, Neuralink, which proposes implants that connect your brain to a computer.
Musk exhibited a video of a monkey using a brain implant to move a cursor and text on a computer at the event. The event began with a slow bunch of words printed out letter by letter, reading Welcome to “Show and Tell.”
During the demonstration, the monkey is shown utilizing his brain to type on a computer. In addition, the Neuralink team talks about their methods for teaching the monkey to respond to numbers and characters displayed on a screen. Finally, he rewards the monkey for tracing numbers and letters, which he then uses to create more complex words and figures. Later the whole sentence is completed.
The implant in the monkey’s brain organizes the neural activity when he thinks about the letters in words. So, by focusing on the letters on the screen, the monkey learns how to use them.
It’s not a brand-new technology; scientists have been working on devices that can interpret brain impulses for years. For instance, it has previously been possible for someone to type words or control video games using only their thoughts.
DJ Seo, Neuralink’s vice president of implants, demonstrated the company’s latest technology, adding that it will be cordless and rechargeable.
Furthermore, the National Institute of Health confirmed that this technology causes no brain damage or impairment to the host patient where the electrode is implanted.
So far, Neuralink has only tested on animals, and the company also admitted that a monkey died throughout the testing process, which has enraged animal rights campaigners.
“We do everything we possibly can with rigorous benchtop testing, so we’re not cavalier about putting devices into animals,” Musk said Wednesday.
During the event on Wednesday, Musk was asked if Neuralink intended to make its tools available to neuroscientists. He said that the company would once it had reached the manufacturing stage.
Furthermore, Musk said that Neuralink has filed most of its paperwork to the FDA and that human testing may begin within six months.
However, it should be noted that Musk often makes claims about his upcoming projects that are typically delayed or don’t materialize.