Neuralink, co-founded by Elon Musk, placed its first brain implant in a human this weekend. A patient is recovering from surgery and his brain activity would be “encouraging,” the boss who turned us into electronically augmented hybrid beings explains in a tweet.
Hello fellow cyborgs! The hybridization of our species with electronic components is no longer the exclusive domain of movies and science fiction books. The first experiments with brain implants on humans date back to the late 1980s and stem from the seminal work on deep intracerebral neurostimulation by Professor Alim-Louis Benabid of Grenoble University Hospital.
And the technique has continued to advance with amazing results, such as this intervention on a paralyzed woman in 2012 by a team from the Rhode Island Brain Institute in Providence, United States, who was able to control a robotic arm. drink and eat independently. In 2019, neurosurgeons at Clinatec, a French bioclinical research center in Grenoble, surgically placed two biocompatible implants on the surface of the brain of a paralyzed patient who mentally controlled his exoskeleton.
The system developed by Neuralink uses the same technique
Using 1,024 electrodes spread over 64 “ultra-flexible” wires, each as thin as a hair, to pick up electrical signals from the brain. These wires are connected to a coin-sized electronic chip that is directly implanted in the patient’s skull. The brain chip communicates via Bluetooth with computer equipment. Tested in 2021 on a macaque’s brain, the system allowed it to play the video game “Pong” without a controller or keyboard. However, 1,500 monkeys, pigs, sheep and other rodents were killed during experiments conducted by Neuralink. This led to the company becoming the target of a federal investigation for violating the US Animal Welfare Act.
Elon Musk also revealed the commercial name of his brain implant, which is called “Telepathy”
If at the moment Neuralink’s priority is to make paralyzed people walk again or alleviate mental illnesses such as depression, Elon Musk’s goal is to equip every human face on the planet with this device, which will allow you to “control your phone or computer simply by thinking,” he writes on the network X.
The marketing of the “Telepathy” device will not be until tomorrow
Especially since Elon Musk was just denied a $56 billion bonus awarded by Tesla’s board of directors in 2018 by a court decision. A judge in the state of Delaware ruled in favor of a shareholder of an electric car maker who asked to cancel it. While Elon Musk counted on this money to develop his companies, which find themselves in a delicate financial situation, the investment in Neuralink undoubtedly risks falling by the wayside.