Published: Wed, July 17, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Elon Musk's Neuralink Will Livestream an Event Tonight

Elon Musk's Neuralink Will Livestream an Event Tonight

The system has been tested on a monkey that was able to control a computer with its brain, according to Mr Musk.

"It's not like suddenly we will have this incredible neural lace and will take over peoples' brains", Mr Musk said during his presentation. The startup has already raised more than $150 million from investors, out of which a $100 million comes from its CEO Elon Musk himself.

Neuralink has also previously teased a product that would connect human brains to computers with an implanted chip. Max Hodak, president of Neuralink, additionally came on stage and admitted that he wasn't sure "this technology was a good idea", however that Elon Musk convinced him it could be possible. Neuralink's head neurosurgeon Dr Matthew McDougall also confirmed that Neuralink will seek FDA approval for clinical trials as early as 2020 for a device "only intended for patients with serious unmet medical diseases." .

The threads reportedly sit alongside neurons, not in them according to Engadget.

A livestreamed presentation on Tuesday evening US time revealed that the company's tech involves incredibly fine "threads", covered in electrodes, inserted into the brain by a robot surgeon and implanted next to neurons and synapses.

Neuralink, in a paper published on Tuesday, said that they have successfully conducted at least 19 surgeries on animals with robots and placed wires or what they call "threads" 87 percent of the times.

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Hodak said the first surgeries will take place under general anaesthesia, but he hopes local anaesthesia will suffice in the future.

The outlet points out how "lots of treatments" that work on animals don't do as well on humans. Along with developing the threads, Neuralink's different significant advance is a machine that automatically embeds them.

He said Neuralinks will soon have a Team page.

Neuralink is certain to have plenty of competition. A higher bandwidth interface would help achieve symbiosis with AI, Musk believes, comparing it to the relationship the cerebral cortex has with the limbic system.

NeuraLink did not explain how the system translated brain activity or how the device was able to stimulate brain cells. Even if Neuralink is able to carry out the procedures, they'd have to perform therapies to prove the implants are safe and useful to patients.

CTRL Labs investor and Lux Capital co-founder and managing partner Joshua Wolfe also told the Journal that his company is currently developing external sensor-based methods, adding "There is no way I'm thinking about technology that involves drilling holes behind ears right now". But as with many of Musk's other ventures, like spaceships or futuristic tunnels, one of the biggest challenges may be for his scientists to match his grand vision.

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