A Computer In Your Brain?

A Photo made in Snapchat to show the idea of a brain chip

A Photo made in Snapchat to show the idea of a brain chip

Tasaun Shroda, Hour 5B

Would you get a chip in your brain that would allow you to connect to your devices? Neuralink plans to make that question real. Neuralink is a company along with Elon Musk that plans to develop and make computer chips that get implanted into your brain which allows the user to access their own technology and more. Neuralink is attempting to make a revolutionary device that could change the way we live our lives.

What is the chip and how will it be done?

What is the chip? The Neuralink brain chip is composed of two different components, the first component is called the Link is a small implanted device that emits and receives neural signals, But where are the signals coming from and going? The signals get sent to the Neural Threads. Neural threads are tiny flexible threads that contain many electrodes that are used to detect and pick up neural signals, these two components are used to share and put out neural signals and actions. Neuralink stated that the, “Micron-scale threads would be inserted into areas of the brain that control movement. Each thread contains many electrodes and connects them to an implant called the “Link.”’

Will it be visible? Nope, on the Neuralink official website it states, “We’re aiming to design a fully implantable, cosmetically invisible brain-computer interface to let you control a computer or mobile device anywhere you go.” Thus allowing the user the comfort of knowing that no one can see the Neuralink chip or at least isn’t very easy to see. This comfort is nice for the user as it allows them some privacy with what they do. 

How is it implanted? Well the answer simply is, “we are building a robotic system that is designed to reliably and efficiently insert these threads exactly where the neurosurgeon wants them to be.” This was pulled from the Neuralink website, in which they say they are developing a robotic arm that can swiftly and safely insert the chip.

How it can help blind see

It’s inserted into the brain and is invisible to the naked eye, but how does such a chip help the blind see? Another statement from the Neuralink was that they think that the link could possibly fix some sensory and like bodily function in a mobility sense. Which means, they are expecting that the link could all or help sensory problems that can accrue within the neural system, possibly allowing those who are visually handicapped the ability to see. A CNBC article centralized around the recent Neuralink recruitment convention used a quote from Elon musk which stated, “Musk said two of the company’s applications will aim to restore vision, even for people who were born blind, and a third application will focus on the motor cortex, restoring “full body functionality” With hoping that this isn’t a empty promise, this could mean that there is specialized attention towards helping those who are visually handicapped.

How could it help people who are physically handicapped?

They plan to focus on helping those who are blind and allowing those who struggle with not being able to move properly, but how could they help people move? Well that answer will come soon actually, “Neuralink could begin to test the motor cortex technology in humans in as soon as six months, Musk said,” this was stated by the CNBC article from earlier. Which means, having actual testing so soon could provide answers to our newly received questions.

How will it allow those incapable of movement to move? Well, based on their trials with pigs, they would be implanting a separate chip that goes into the spine that’s programmed to receive neural signals from the brain to allow the user control over their bodies once more.

Have They Had Any Success Yet?

Absolutely they have, they have run many tests to ensure the chip is safe and actually works. “The event showcased a video that Musk said showed a monkey using a brain implant to control a cursor and type on a computer.” This was stated by CNN while discussing the events that happened at the Neuralink recruitment convention, the fact that the chip was able to allow a monkey to control a cursor and type on a computer is quite outstanding and shows how they are super close to allowing us to achieve such milestones.  

Another monkey related business was him taunting a video of a monkey playing ping pong on a computer using the brain chip, this was also stated in the CNN article. This advancement in technology is amazing, and could allow us to do great things in the future using brain chip technology like a blueprint.

What to take away from this?

What to take away from this? Well, that there’s a new innovative, technological advancement that could possibly change our very way of life and that thing starts it’s human trials in like June or July. The technology was created by a company called Neuralink, that’s partnered with Elon musk and the device could help allow the blind to see and crippled to walk. This new thing will be here soon, so be ready for it.