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Is Elon Musk’s Brain Chip Neuralink Fiction Or The Future? Here’s All You Need To Know


Imagine a world where your thoughts control your devices. No more typing, swiping or even speaking. Elon Musk‘s Neuralink, a brain chip implant, promises this mind-blowing leap into the future. By merging human and machine intelligence, Neuralink could transform everything from medicine to communication. The wireless brain chip from entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Neuralink has been implanted in an actual person for the first time in 2024, a year after the test was approved. Musk declared that the patient “is recovering well” after receiving the implant.

The technology is intended to be used for multiple purposes, such as facilitating a brain-computer interface and helping people regain their motor function. Musk’s assertions were not independently verified, and Neuralink failed to offer many specifics.

Though ethical questions about the device and its testing have been raised, Musk has hailed Neuralink as the technology and medical breakthrough of the future. Here’s what you should know about Neuralink’s human testing.

What Is Elon Musk’s Brain Chip Neuralink?

The chief executive officer of Neurable, a technology business creating non-invasive interfaces between the brain and the computer in the form of headphones, Ramses Alcaide, stated that Neuralink, the tech firm, is creating a gadget “developed to link our minds directly to computers”. “Neuralink’s technology can record, decode, and send neural signals back to the brain through electrical stimulation” the company says.

How Does The Brain Chip Work?

Elon Musk’s brain chip, Neuralink, is a coin-sized device surgically placed in the skull to create the interface between the brain and the computer (BCI) through the insertion of incredibly thin wires. The Neuralink implant can be divided into two sections. The battery and circuitry are housed in the outer case. It rests on the cranium.

This comprises the Bluetooth chip/antenna and the device’s “brain.” Like transferring music to a set of wireless headphones, Neuralink uses wireless transmission to transfer data.

The second component is the neural lace, which entails implanting “1,024 electrodes spread across 64 threads” on the patient’s surface, beneath their skull. This portion of the surgery is performed by a robot surgeon because it requires precision that a human hand cannot provide.

This growing focus on technological precision in medicine paves the way for advancements like Neuralink’s brain chip, which uses a typical Bluetooth connection to capture brain activity and transmit it to a device, such as a smartphone. According to Musk, the first product, named Telepathy, will let users operate computers or phones “just by thinking.”

What Kind Of Testing Has Neuralink Done?

Neuralink used pigs and monkeys to test its technology. Through their Neuralink implants, the company displayed multiple monkeys “playing” simple video games or navigating a cursor across a screen.

Despite Neuralink’s claim that no monkeys have perished as a consequence of their implantation, problems with the devices on monkeys have been documented, including paralysis, convulsions and brain swelling.

Are Brain Chips The Future?

An online database of ongoing clinical studies in the United States indicates that about 40 brain-computer integration trials are now underway. In July 2022, a US patient received the gadget from Australia-based Synchron. Installing Synchron’s implant doesn’t involve making any incisions in the skull.

While Musk’s firm goes beyond that and aims to empower individuals to operate their cell phones and devices, other experiments focus on medical needs.

Risks And Controversies Of The  NeuraLink Brain Chip

Concerns have been expressed by experts over the use of Neuralink’s brain chip in animal experiments as well as possible hazards from brain surgery, including seizures or brain hemorrhage. They continue by saying that Musk’s idea of implants raises questions about surveillance and privacy.

Animals have been used in Neuralink hardware tests. Although the technique was demonstrated by the business in 2020 on a pig named Gertrude, it is also known that lambs and monkeys were used in animal experiments.

A Reuters investigation found that, as a result, over 1,500 animals have died. Even though it happened before the company’s FDA authorization for human trials, this resulted in a government inquiry that was published in December 2022.

According to documents from the government agency that Reuters examined, Neuralink was penalized earlier this year by the US Ministry of Transportation for neglecting to register as a carrier of hazardous material, which is implants made from monkey brains. 

By their very nature, these human experiments are not without peril. During the process, there is a chance of infection and brain injury. There is little information on users’ ability to control their neural activity and personal data.

Benefits Of The Neuralink Brain Chip

The company’s primary objective, according to the Neuralink website, is to assist those who have been rendered paralyzed in regaining their lost communication abilities. Its future goals include treating neurological conditions and regaining motor, sensory, and visual abilities.“By establishing a direct connection between the brain of an individual and digital devices, a Neuralink-like device offers the possibility to improve human memory, processing speed, and cognitive abilities,” stated Alcaide. 

Regain Mobility

Exoskeletons and prostheses can be operated using brain-computer interfaces. Alcaide claims that this particular application would allow individuals who have lost limbs or are paralyzed to regain some degree of mobility and freedom.

Enhance Non-Verbal Communication

The primary goal of Neuralink is to facilitate communication between those who are incapable of writing or talking by giving them the ability to use a virtual keyboard and mouse or send messages with their thoughts. For instance, a person with paraplegia could use text synthesis or speech recognition to control a mobile device or computer, browse the internet, and produce digital art.

Provide Solutions To Neurological Conditions

Brain-computer interfaces, according to Alcaide, can monitor brain activity and identify changes that might be indicative of neurological disorders, including epilepsy, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s disease.

They are additionally useful for tracking symptoms related to mental health. According to Sumner Norman, a research scientist at charitable business startup Convergent Research and a previous chief neurological scientist at software company AE Studio, electromagnetic stimulation could be applied to specific brain areas as a therapy for burnout, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. 

These conditions are distributed throughout the brain, unlike motor skills, which are localized to one area.

Establishing interfaces between the brain and computers and neuroprosthetics for individuals with neurological illness or injury has been Norman’s focus for the past ten years. “Treating or healing paralysis, disorders of the nervous system, and wounds could make the world a significantly nicer place, in which only a few individuals have incurable forms of depressive disorders or anxiety,” Norman said, and restoring agency to those who have lost it is an indisputable advantage.

Improve An Individual’s Cognitive Skills

Through actual biofeedback and other techniques, this technology can also help people train their brains to become more focused, attentive, and able to recall information.

According to Musk, the Link has “all the sensors you’d expect to find in a smartwatch,” making it something like a “Fitbit in your skull.”

“What would you do with the information if you could suddenly get every single neuron in the brain of an individual and experience them all at once? We’re not sure” Norman remarked.

“How do you interpret data with 80 billion neurons and 1,000 synapses between them in the brain?”

Currently, Neuralink’s technology can identify as many as 10,000 of these connections, which is a significant improvement over the hundreds being investigated in research studies, according to Norman.

Scientific Exploration Of The Brain

Current brain imaging techniques, like fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), offer a blurry picture of brain activity. They measure changes in blood flow indirectly related to neural activity.

Neuralink, by directly recording electrical signals from thousands of neurons, could provide a much higher-resolution view of what’s happening within specific brain regions in real-time.

This could be the difference between seeing a pixelated image and a high-definition one. With higher-resolution data, scientists could pinpoint the exact locations of different brain functions.

Imagine seeing which specific neurons fire when you remember a face or solve a math problem. This would allow for a much more detailed map of the brain’s functional organization.

It’s important to remember, however, that these are potential benefits, but there are technical challenges. Neuralink still needs to refine its technology to ensure it accurately captures and decodes complex brain signals. Additionally, interpreting this massive amount of data will require significant advancements in computational neuroscience.

However, the potential of Neuralink to unlock the secrets of the brain is undeniable. It’s an ongoing scientific exploration with the potential to revolutionize our understanding of this most complex organ.

Is Neuralink The Future?

In summary, Elon Musk’s Neuralink gadget allows your brain to communicate with computers, essentially acting as a miniature translator. For individuals with disabilities, mind-controlled technology may change everything, though it’s still in its infancy. While there will always be safety checks and hitches to work out, Neuralink is headed in the right direction for an exciting future.

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