Neuralink, a startup company led by Elon Musk, is working with thread based tech that aims to integrate into human brains with a lot less potential side-effects for the brain tissue compared with the options currently available for brain to computer interactions. “Most people don’t realize, we can solve that with a chip,” said Musk at the Neuralink event where he also discussed the application of this tech to combat a variety of brain disorders.
Musk says that part of the long-term plan for Neuralink is find a method to “achieve a sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence.” But, he says, “This is not a mandatory thing. This is something you can choose to have if you want.”
Currently the focus is on medical applications. Neuralink has constructed a robot that function sort of like a sewing machine that can implant tiny threads (between 4 to 6 μm) deep into the brain tissue where it can offer high data read-write operations. However, there is concern over the endurance of the threads in regards to the lengthy exposure to the brain’s salt mix fluid that can cause damage and wear away the threads over time.
These concepts are still in the early stages of development. Neuralink scientists say that the startup still has a lot to do before they get closer to delivering commercial services. The main idea behind their decision to divulge their plans is so that they can work without having to keep their project under wraps; they can work out in the open and publish papers, which makes for a much easier method of operations.
Co-founder and president of Neuralink, Max Hodak, said that he feels positive that the company’s creations can be used in the medical field one day, with potential utilization in regards to restoring mobility for amputees, and repairing hearing, vision, and other sensory deficiencies. The startup is hoping to start human testing by next year, possibly with the cooperation of neurosurgeons at Stanford among other institutions.