Elon Musk's gamechanging Neuralink, and the 'Three Little Pi
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk debuted the much-vaunted live demo of Neuralink, the ambitious neurotech moonshot which involves building a wireless brain implant capable of reading from and writing to the brain. Or in Musk’s words, something akin to having a “Fitbit in your skull, with tiny wires”.

• What is Neuralink?

A brain-machine interface that uses implant chips and thousands of electrodes in the most complex organ to connect humans and computers.

In its primary stages, it can assist paraplegics and other patients of Alzheimer's, dementia, and neurologically disabled people to control artificial limbs and other connected devices with thoughts.

As the technology evolves further, Musk expects perfect human-computer symbiosis or linking our conscience to an intelligent system.

• How does it work?

Musk wrote: “We have built arrays of small and flexible electrode threads, with as many as 3,072 electrodes per array, distributed across 96 threads. We have also built a neurosurgical robot capable of inserting six threads [192 electrodes] per minute."

A very small microchip will be wired into the brain behind a person's ear, and it will, in turn, connect to very fine and flexible threads—thinner than a human hair—connected to electrodes in the brain.

The implants will help in the ultra-amplification of the very faint brain waves, and its further digitisation.

One electrode records the electrical signals between neurons, which instructs the brain. Now consider 1,500 electrodes. This could help map all different parts of the brain and bring a new understanding of decoding the complex brain signals.

• The 'Three Little Pigs' demo

One pig, Joyce, with no implant, was shown, to demonstrate what a cute little pig looks like. The next, Dorothy, had had the implant for a while before it was removed, and was exhibited to show that the procedure for both insertion and removal was safe. The third pig, Gerturde had been living with the coin-sized (23mm by 8mm) Neuralink implant in her head for about two months.

Musk also said that Neuralink had achieved FDA Breakthrough Device designation in July, a program that can help expedite the regulatory process for products “that provide for more effective treatment or diagnosis of life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions”. Such a designation does not mean the device is approved by the FDA.

Source: https://www.theweek.in/news/sci-tech/2020/08/29/elon-musk-gamchanging-neuralink-and-the-three-little-pigs-demo-explained.html
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