Elon Musk has originally called this startup to be top-secret. And he had good reasons for that. Since the creation of Neuralink in 2016 until July 2019, there have been practically no leaks about the progress of work, and there have been practically no answers to banal questions like "what are they doing there?"
This project has been presented once. It was in July 2019, Musk first demonstrated what Neuralink had achieved during this time. But if then there was a presentation that dealt with general information about the technology, now we are already waiting for something much more interesting.
What is Neuralink
Neuralink is an American neurotechnology company, founded by Elon Musk in 2016. The company is headquartered in San Francisco.
The goal is the development and production of neurocomputer interfaces.
The first publications about the company appeared in March 2017. The Neuralink trademark was acquired from the previous owner in January 2017.
Elon Musk stated that the company aims to make devices for the treatment of serious brain diseases in the short term, and the ultimate goal is to improve people.
"It may sound rather strange, but in the end, we will achieve symbiosis with artificial intelligence. It will not be a mandatory feature, but you can choose it if you want," Musk said at a press conference two years later, at which the first results were presented.
July 2019 presentation
At the presentation, technology was presented that allows you to read information from the brain.
It is based on six "threads" four micrometers thick (several times thinner than a human hair), each with dozens of electrodes.
These threads are implanted into the brain by a special robot. Its functionality is six threads per minute. At the same time, during operation, the robot will avoid contact with blood vessels, which will reduce inflammation during the process.
Four holes with a diameter of 8 mm are pre-drilled in the skull. Then threads will be implanted in different parts of the brain. According to experts, the first operations will be carried out under general anesthesia, and later a laser can be used to install the chip.
The implanted threads will monitor brain activity and transmit data to a special chip, which will initially be located behind the ear. In the future, the company is planning to create a system that allows working over a wireless network.
What is this for?
The original goal of Neuralink is to empower paralyzed people by allowing them to use their brain impulses to control smartphones and computers.
Ideally, this is the ability for paralyzed people to literally type a text message or email, move the cursor around the screen, and browse the web.
How were the tests carried out?
Neuralink said about 20 operations on rodents have already been carried out. Result: In 87% of cases, the robot successfully implanted thread-implants into their brain.
During one of the experiments, a thread implanted in a rodent's brain was connected to a USB and transmitted information from its brain to a computer.
The amount of data received was ten times the amount of information that modern sensors can collect. The technology is also being tested on primates and, according to Musk, the first tests were successful.
The implantation of electrical wires and other devices into the human brain requires high precision and accuracy since the organ reacts negatively to foreign elements.
So the issue of security is still on the agenda.
What to expect today?
The presentation will begin on the Neuralink YouTube channel on August 28 at 15:00 PT.
Musk is going to demonstrate a working and updated version of the neural interface.
It was previously announced that the update would include a second-generation device designed to plug technology into the brain and a demonstration of neurons “that fire in real-time regime.”
We will see very soon how it will look in practice.