Elon Musk (Tesla) wants to make a brain implant he is currently testing on .. a pig
Sylvie Claire / August 29, 2020
Gertrude takes part in an experiment that looks like science fiction: Elon Musk's start-up, Neuralink, implanted a smart chip in the brain of this guinea pig. This is a prototype to make the version for humans that will restore speech and mobility to paralyzed people.
"It's like a Fitbit (smartwatch) in your head," Elon Musk enthused Friday, during an online talk about the progress of his brain-to-computer interface project, which is getting a lot of attention. skepticism in the scientific community.
The futuristic entrepreneur (Tesla, SpaceX) presented a year ago a chip with ultra-fine threads, which can be implanted in the brain by a robot, a kind of ultra-precise sewing machine. The new model, wireless using bluetooth technology, charges at night and measures 23 mm in diameter (like a small coin) by 8 mm in thickness.
In theory, the round chip will be implanted in the brain, without needing to spend an overnight stay in the hospital, and without leaving a trace, except for a small scar under the hair. It will primarily be used to treat neurological diseases. But the long-term goal is to make implants so safe, reliable and simple that they would qualify as elective (comfort) surgery.
People could then spend a few thousand dollars to equip their brains with computing power.
Right now, in Neuralink's labs, the pig Gertrude walks on a treadmill, snout in a feeder hanging in front of her, while the chip is relaying her neurological signals. From this information, the computer is able to predict at any time where each of its members are. What gives hope to restore mobility to paraplegics.
In the event of a spinal cord injury, one could implant another chip at the site of the injury, and bypass the damaged "transmission circuits", Musk imagines. "In the long term, I'm sure we can regain full use of your body. »