Elon Musk wants to give sight to the blind and make the paralyzed walk

Elon Musk wants to give sight to the blind and make the paralyzed walk

As he struggles with TwitterTwitter, his new toy, Elon Musk does not put his other innovative projects on hold. This is the case of Neuralink, the start-upstart-up who seeks to develop a implantimplant cerebral so that humans can eventually merge their thoughts with machines and in particular artificial intelligences.

It is on the advances of Neuralink thatElon MuskElon Musk did the show for two hours at a conference held that night. For the billionaire, the technology is now perfect. He is just waiting for the approval of the Food and Drug Administration, the US health agency, to begin human trials. He hopes that these can begin within six months. But above all, Elon Musk seeks to seduce by hammering once again that these implants are intended to revolutionize the lives of people with disabilities.

Neuralink intends to restore sight to the blind and make people with spinal cord injuries walk. Experiments have already taken place on animals, such as monkeys. On a video (tweet below), we can thus see monkeys named Sake and Pager enter text or play pong in front of the computer by thought. But behind this promotion, the tests did not always go well. Placing the implant directly into the brain cavitybrain cavity is irreversible and has proven fatal to some guinea pigs. It must be said that the chip integrated into the skullskull is equipped with thousands ofelectrodeselectrodes thinner than a hair that are implanted in the outer surface of the brainbrain. The whole is orchestrated by a chip, called N1. It communicates wirelessly with the outside world and is also recharged wirelessly.

Walk the disabled

As for making people with motor disabilities walk, Neuralink has carried out experiments by implanting electrodes in the spinal cordspinal cord of a pig. The researchers managed to control different movementsmovements legs with the implant. A process that could allow quadriplegics to regain the use of walking and their hands. The Neuralink chip is able to intercept movement commands from the brain and direct them to the legs. She also knows how to receive sensory signals from the limbs so that the brain can interpret them. For the blind, another experiment with a monkey made it possible to add elements captured by a camera in its field of vision. It is with this technology that Neuralink hopes to develop a prosthesisprosthesis vision for the blind.

On this video, Elon Musk reveals the progress made by Neuralink and announces that the first tests on humans could take place within six months. © YouTube, Neuralink

The company plans to improve the process by increasing the number of electrodes. While the first generation operated 1,024 electrodes, the new generation reaches 16,000. With such a network, this makes it possible to obtain 32,000 pixelpixel to generate a very well defined image in a blind person. If Neuralink is not the only company to floorfloor on brain-machine interfaces, it remains the only one with the capacity to implantimplant in massmass. For this, the start-up has created an R1 robot capable of inserting the electrodes into the brain without damaging the blood vessels. A new version of this robot is under development. He could go further and handle most of the surgerysurgery necessary for implantation, including the opening of the skull.

Invasive surgery

But what Neurolink is silent about is that its process remains invasiveinvasive and that there is no turning back once the chip has been implanted. This is precisely what worries specialists in the medical profession. In any case, this does not seem to scare Elon Musk who sees even further than making the motor handicapped walk or giving sight to the blind. He imagines himself benefiting from his implant and wishes that, in the future, everyone can have these implants to be able to merge and better control the AIs of the future.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink project worries scientists a lot

Widely put forward by Elon Musk, the company Neuralink should proceed this year to the first tests of its brain implant on human volunteers. However, many scientists have questions about the bioethicsbioethicssecurity and data usage, and the future of the implanted chips once the trial is over.

Article of Edward BackEdward Back published on February 2, 2022

A direct neural interface is Elon Musk’s promise to help people with disabilities. As his company Neuralink prepares for the first human trials (after testing on pigs and monkeys), The Daily Beast interviewed scientists who expressed concerns about such a project.

Laura Cabrera, a neuroethics specialist at Pennsylvania State University, wonders if it will be possible to remove the implants without damaging the brain. ” If it goes wrong, we really don’t have the technology for them. “explant”. And what is the durationduration life of an implant? Will Neuralink offer upgrades afterward to participants?

Will Neuralink be able to keep its promises?

For Karola Keritmair, an assistant professor of medical history and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, future commercial spinoffs are problematic. ” I worry about an uncomfortable marriage between a for-profit company… and these medical interventions that are hopefully there to help people. Neuralink says it is developing its implant to help people with disabilities, but the market is quite small, which may pose profitability issues.

A direct neural interface could be of interest to the general public in order to control devices with the brain, for example driving a Tesla with thought. ” But then all of these human subjects – people with real needs – are exploited and used in risky research for someone else’s commercial gain. worries L. Syd Johnson of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities from Suny Upstate Medical University.

It also expresses doubts about the objectives announced by the firm. ” If Neuralink claims that they will be able to use their device for therapeutic purposes to help people with disabilities, they are making unrealistic promises because they are far from having the capacity. »

What will happen to the collected data?

Scientists are also concerned about the use of information collected by the implant. Who will have access to it, and what will become of the data in the event of a takeover of Neuralink? There is also the question of the security of the device, namely the risks of hacking and the devastating consequences for the victim if a malicious individual takes control of his implant. If this kind of technology were to become widespread, what about the diversion by governments or corporations for mass surveillance?

The scientists interviewed are not necessarily opposed to the technology, but are especially wary of the many possible abuses and hope that the notoriety of the project will force Neuralink to be very careful to do everything by the rules. The implant has the potential to change the lives of paralyzed people, and Elon Musk’s firm isn’t the only one working on neural interfaces.

Neuralink: the first human trials will begin in 2022, according to Elon Musk

Nothing seems to stop the visionary Elon Musk, boss of Tesla and SpaceXSpaceX, which plans, with its company Neuralink, the implantation of chips in the brain of humans from 2022. Initially, these brain implants will be intended for people with disabilities to allow them to control a computer by thought. The mergermerger of Man with the machine is running.

Futura article with ETX Daily Up agency published on 10/12/2021

Elon Musk hopes to be able to, via his company Neurolink, to implant chips in the human brain from 2022. This chip, already tested on monkeys, makes it possible to record and stimulate brain activity. It is intended for medical use. Initially, it should allow people with disabilities physicalphysical recover their ability to move.

Computer control by thought becomes reality

In a short interview with Elon Musk at wall street journal on the occasion of the Summit of the Council of CEOs, the American entrepreneur gave an update on his Neuralink project. The CEO announced that Neuralink hopes to begin human trials as early as 2022. However, he must wait for the approval of the Food and Drug Administration which issues warrants to authorize the marketing of drugs.

The first human trials have been postponed for several years. A first date was scheduled for the end of 2020, then postponed to 2021 and now to 2022. Neuralink has created an electronic chip device directly implanted in the brain to control digital devices or even to reduce movement disabilities.

We hope to be able to implant this device in our first humans – who will be people with severe spinal cord injuries, such as tetraplegicstetraplegics or quadriplegics – next year, subject to FDA approvalsaid the CEO of Neuralink. And, I have to say, our standards for implanting the device are significantly higher than those of the FDAFDA. Just as our safety standards with Tesla are much higher than required by the US government “.

Pager, a 9-year-old monkey, plays Pong with his mind. © Neuralink

The brain stimulated by electrodes

The N1 Link is a 1,024 channel device that Neuralink has manufactured for the therapeutic use of patients. Once the device is implanted in a patient’s brain, it’s supposed to transmit data invisibly via a wireless connection. Neuralink has been testing monkeys for several years with encouraging results.

Neuralink: Watch the Monkey Pager play the Pong video game by thought

A video shows, for example, a monkey named Pager able to play Pong simply with his mind. Amazing! This chip works by implanting electrodes in the region of the brain that controls movement before connecting to a larger network. The system will then process, stimulate and transmit neural signals to control movement.

This chip is infinitely small, so thin that human hands cannot handle them

This chip is infinitely small and, according to Neuralink, so thin that human hands cannot handle them. This is why the company is developing robots in parallel capable of placing them at the exact location of the brain.

Elon Musk is cautiously optimistic about the future of the N1 Link. He thinks Neuralink’s device could help people with severe spinal cord injuries. In the long run, these chips could have even more amazing functionality. But for now, the promises are getting longer…