“It’s like a Fitbit (smartwatch) in your head,” Elon Musk enthused Friday, during an online conference on 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 thanks to 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 having to spend a night in the hospital, and without leaving any trace, except for a small scar under the hair. It will first be used to treat neurological diseases. But the long-term goal is to make implants so safe, reliable and simple that they would qualify for elective (comfort) surgery.
People could then spend a few thousand dollars to equip their brains with computing power.
For now, in Neuralink’s labs, the pig Gertrude is walking on a treadmill, snouting in a feeder hanging in front of her, while the chip retransmits 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 paraplegic people.
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”, imagines Elon Musk. “In the long term, I am sure that we will be able to regain full use of our body.”