Musk’s company aims to soon test brain implant in people

Keywords Bioscience / Technology

Tech billionaire Elon Musk said his Neuralink company is seeking permission to test its brain implant in people soon.

In a “show and tell” presentation livestreamed Wednesday night, Musk said his team is in the process of asking U.S. regulators to allow them to test the device. He said he thinks the company should be able to put the implant in a human brain as part of a clinical trial in about six months, though that timeline is far from certain.

Musk’s Neuralink is one of many groups working on linking brains to computers, efforts aimed at helping treat brain disorders, overcoming brain injuries and other applications.

The field dates back to the 1960s, said Rajesh Rao, co-director of the Center for Neurotechnology at the University of Washington. “But it really took off in the 90s. And more recently we’ve seen lots of advances, especially in the area of communication brain computer interfaces.”

Rao, who watched Musk’s presentation online, said he doesn’t think Neuralink is ahead of the pack in terms of brain-computer interface achievements. “But … they are quite ahead in terms of the actual hardware in the devices,” he said.

The Neuralink device is about the size of a large coin and is designed to be implanted in the skull, with ultra-thin wires going directly into the brain. Musk said the first two applications in people would be restoring vision and helping people with little or no ability to operate their muscles rapidly use digital devices.

He said he also envisions that in someone with a broken neck, signals from the brain could be bridged to Neuralink devices in the spinal cord.

“We’re confident there are no physical limitations to enabling full body functionality,” said Musk, who recently took over Twitter and is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.

In experiments by other teams, implanted sensors have let paralyzed people use brain signals to operate computers and move robotic arms. In a 2018 study in the journal PLOS ONE, three participants with paralysis below the neck affecting all of their limbs used an experimental brain-computer interface being tested by the consortium BrainGate. The interface records neural activity from a small sensor in the brain to navigate things like email and apps.

A r ecent study in the journal Nature, by scientists at the Swiss research center NeuroRestore, identified a type of neuron activated by electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, allowing nine patients with chronic spinal cord injury to walk again.

Researchers have also been working on brain and machine interfaces for restoring vision. Rao said some companies have developed retinal implants, but Musk’s announcement suggested his team would use signals directly targeting the brain’s visual cortex, an approach that some academic groups are also pursuing, “with limited success.”

Neuralink spokespeople did not immediately respond to an email to the press office. Dr. Jaimie Henderson, a neurosurgery professor at Stanford University who is an adviser for Neuralink, said one way Neuralink is different than some other devices is that it has the ability to reach into deeper layers of the brain. But he added: “There are lots of different systems that have lots of different advantages.”

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11 thoughts on “Musk’s company aims to soon test brain implant in people

    1. Given that there’s really only one brain being shared amidst the cult of We-Loved-Elon-Till-Five-Minutes-Ago followers, I think you’re absolutely right. They really can’t afford the sacrifice.

    1. People always had a free political voice. Go read the first amendment again.

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      Twitter isn’t the government. It’s a private company. They can allow whomever speak they want. Users and advertisers are welcome to participate or choose not to, especially if they’d rather not be a part of the instability that has been created, 100%, by Elon Musk.

      If Twitter was doing just fine, do you think the CEO would be spreading the same nonsense as you about Apple Computer, in an attempt to scare their largest advertiser into again advertising on Twitter?

      Elon Musk and a bunch of other people have lived in a right wing echo chamber. That fueled his Twitter purchase and his decisions. He’s made a very expensive mistake, and it makes me wonder the structure that must exist at companies like Tesla and SpaceX that enable them to carry on despite an unstable CEO like Musk. Twitter is a lot more like The Boring Company, which is also an abject failure.

      So if I’m a federal regulator and Elon Musk tries his “I’m an innovator and the rules don’t apply to me” act when it comes to implanting things in the brain, I’d hold him to the exact same standards in as everyone else working on the same thing.

    2. Using Joe’s own logic in his third paragraph, Twitter should be something he now defends. It was the defense he used back when it was engaged in Third Reich levels of censorship. And back then it still had shareholders watching their assets slowly dwindle. Musk rescued them from losing even more, and made it 100% the property of his own ego.

      But, you see, Joe preferred Twitter when it was a “democratic” cesspool of wealthy white girls who majored in sosh and gender studies at places like Bryn Mawr or Smith, who had no ability to code, who drank $15 matcha lattes during their 90 minutes of work each day, which largely consisted of shadow-banning people they didn’t like, at the rate of $120,000 a year starter salary, largely funded by globalist activists. A buncha mean girls who are now squealing on Mastodon (or whatever) about how persecuted they’ve been.

      It is now an entirely private company and Musk can ban absolutely all he wants. He can eliminate all the “they/them” pronouns, the purple hairs, the rose emojis. And yet he hasn’t. The only high-profile person he suspended was an edgelord troll hip-hop-cum-Christian artist who he hopefully will re-instate. Beyond that, he’s just suspended a bunch of Antifa accounts, not because they’re Antifa–you can remain a fat basement revolutionary as long as you don’t actually plot or foment violence–but because Antifa intersects so heavily with chomos–people committing actual crimes.

      It remains to be seen if Musk made an expensive mistake. Twitter is still a massive car crash–fascinating to look at from afar but I’m so glad I never got involved…never once had an account on any of the microblogging sites, including the ones that didn’t exist five years ago and wouldn’t exist (Gab, Parler, Truth Social, others?) if it weren’t for the fact that Twitter became a left-wing echo chamber that was losing $2M a day to host a simple microblogging application that can run perfectly well with about 1,200 employees. As the Twitter addicts, left and right, are seeing now. No loss in basic functionality. The problems it faces are mostly amplified by the disgruntled Beckys who left and the armchair Marxists who didn’t want their viewpoints challenged.

    3. I’ve never met Lauren B., but each post gets better.

      Best part?

      I don’t really have to reply to the Joe B. nonsense anymore.

    4. Sounds like a bunch of fun people you followed on Twitter.

      I think some of people’s problems are because they use the tools Twitter gave them. I use a third party client, so I only see who I choose to follow, with no ads and nothing from Twitter’s algorithm.

      So I can’t tell you what that algorithm used to suggest, but I do have another account and I use the Twitter client for that since I’m only posting, not reading. I can tell you that each time I’ve used that over the last month, the top suggested tweet is from Elon Musk. Amazing coincidence, huh?

      Also, don’t forget the people who’ve been banned for mocking Elon Musk. Funny the limits the free speech absolutist turns out actually has.

      All that said, in addition to not understanding free speech, you don’t understand censorship. Can Kanye walk into a synagogue and start spouting off more of the speech that made even the recently bankrupted Alex Jones squirm? Of course not. Twitter is no different, and wasn’t any different before.

      You can say whatever you want and the government can’t restrict it, barring things like a threat to public safety (fire in the theatre). But you can’t make people listen to you and you certainly can’t make companies (who love stability) advertise if they see someone running the company like he’s the Cocaine Bear. And you certainly can’t make all those liberals with lattes buy your electric cars if they think you’re a jerk.

      Best I can tell, Musk thought there were millions upon millions who would pay $8 a month for a blue checkmark and that would allow him to weather the storm. Turns out he was wrong, a victim of his echo chamber.

      Twitter’s product is moderation, no different than another other Internet service. It’s not 1997 and “unlimited speech will solve any and every thing”. Twitter had no discernible business plan before, with advertisers. It now has no discernible business plan AND has no advertisers.

      If he wants advertising, he will, hat in hand, ask what he’s got to do to get money and the answer will be “moderation”. If he wants to be allowed in other countries, he will ask them, hat in hand, what moderation he has to do to be allowed.

      But that sounds like more fun than explaining to the Saudi’s that he just burned through a couple billion of their dollars. They never found any trace of Khashoggi, did they?

    5. J C B … Love to chat more any time. Think I was right 99.4% of the time…

      Meanwhile Twitter is now offering buy one get one deals, desperate to get advertisers to come back. Turns out that when 92% of your revenue is advertising, maybe scaring them all off was maybe not a great business decision. Who wants to risk their ads showing up next to hate speech?

      The Cocaine Bear is running Twitter so poorly I expect it to leak that he’s just been doing a reboot of Brewster’s Millions in real life. Makes as much sense as anything else.

  1. Brain implants? Great idea…and he has such an enormous pool of potential recipients; all the people who voted for “Dementia Joe” Biden and The Cackling Hen.

    1. And by the time Donald T. Rump runs (officially) in 2024, he’ll be how old – compared to what Biden was when he ran? I saw a good one the other day when someone tried to point out Biden beat the only Republican he was capable of beating — that’s not saying much for the Republicans’ selection standards!

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