11 Jun A monkey plays Pong in Neuralink’s brain-computer interface demo.
Elon Musk’s most recent Neuralink’s brain-computer interface update showed a pig with one of the company’s chips implanted in its brain. Neuralink is working on technology that will connect the human brain directly to a computer. Neuralink is now proving its development by showing a Monkey playing Pong with one of the Link chips. Using “Pager” is demonstrated at first using a joystick, and subsequently, according to the narrator, finally using only its mind via the wireless connection.
‘’Today, we are excited to disclose the N1 Link’s capacity. It allows a macaque monkey named Pager to control a cursor on a computer screen. It is done with a neural activity utilizing a 1,024 electrode fully-implanted neural recording and data transmission device. In the hand and arm regions of the motor cortex, Link was implanted. This area is responsible for movement, planning, and execution. Links were implanted bilaterally. One in the left motor cortex (which controls movements on the right side of the body) and one in the right motor cortex (which controls motions on the left side of the body).”
The accompanying blog post says that Neuralink’s brain-computer interface is built on decades of research. This research resulted in systems linking “a few hundred electrodes”. It required a physical hookup through the skin, as opposed to its N1 Link, which has 1,024 electrodes. Neuralink stated that its mission is to build a safe and effective clinical BMI system that is wireless. The users can operate it independently and take it anywhere they go. They also want to scale up the number of electrodes for better robustness and higher information throughput. It automates implant surgery to make it as quick and safe as possible.
Musk, as usual, went a step further in his tweets. He claims that “The first Neuralink device will allow paralyzed people to operate a smartphone. They can control it with their minds instead of their thumbs. For example, the latest version will be able to shunt messages from brain Neuralinks to body motor/sensory neuron clusters, allowing paraplegics to walk again.”