Elon Musk officially addressing the purpose and working of the Link

Neuralink: One Microchip Fulfilling Hundreds of Possibilities

As daunting as 2020 might have been but this year’s inventions have also brought the good that is no longer restricted to sci-fi movies.

On Friday of August 28th, 2020, the link was divulged to the public eye and streamed live on YouTube by the billionaire founder. Elon started by saying, “Our goal is to solve brain and spine problems with a seamlessly implanted device,” and stated that the demo is going to blow our mind, well, hopefully not, Musk. 

Neuralink, the ultimate brain-technology fusion, is hope in disguise for the incapacitated. What makes this device marvel is that it aims to cure neurological conditions, blindness, and paralysis. It will enable the paralyzed to control electronics with their minds, similar to superheroes but less dramatic. Furthermore, it also strives to make communication easier and better for people with different cultures and languages.

Neuralink's self-contained neural implant functions without the aid of external hardware
Neuralink’s self-contained neural implant functions without the aid of external hardware. Photo Credit: Neuralink

The grand reveal of Neuralink at the press conference. The visible threads seen are about the size of a human hair.

Mr. Musk, the owner of the four-year-old neurotechnology company, defines the life-changing gadget as a “Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.” This so-called “Fitbit” consisting of roughly 3000 tiny electrodes can detect what your 1000 brain neurons are up to. 

How is the Awe-inspiring Tool Installed?

 To fix a coin-shaped microchip in your head, you will need to head to a brain surgeon for an implant. That’s right! In approximately less than an hour, a part of the skull will be traded with brain-reading threads to ensure you have rewarded the supreme Artificial Intelligence experience for investing million dollars. 

And just because there isn’t enough machinery involved already, be prepared to sit back and relax (without general anesthesia if you wish to enjoy the journey) since the procedure will be carried out by a surgical robot that has also been developed by the entrepreneur’s company.

Elon Musk standing next to the surgical robot during his Neuralink presentation on Friday.
Elon Musk standing next to the surgical robot during his Neuralink presentation on Friday. Getty Images

This white programmable computer was standing right beside the celebrity engineer during the presentation

Neuralink in Action

For a live demonstration, three pigs were presented on stage. One was a controlled variable; the second has had the implant for two months. In contrast, the third had it removed to show how a person would behave if they decided to no longer have a computer embedded in their brain or wanted to switch to the latest piece because no one would want a bygone version while others’ skulls continue to be upgraded with new features to unlock. Although the implanted pig was an introvert, all three animals showed normal behavior as predicted, proving that the neuralink does no noticeable neural damage.

screengrab of pig demo
Pig with implantation used in the live demo along with the signals from the device. Randi Klett

With 1,024 channels, the battery lasts all day long and can be wirelessly charged overnight with your sleep undisturbed. On this note, the Neuralink Cooperation owner also wants you to install an app, but on your phone this time. For the gadget’s proper working, the wireless range to the phone is about 5-10 meters to allow the application to communicate via Bluetooth with the freshly added piece in your skull.  Once positioned, the chip is not externally visible, “I could have a Neuralink right now, and you wouldn’t know,” the renowned innovator informed, which stunned the listeners for a couple of seconds. 

The Hefty Cost

When a journalist raised a question on the price of the device, Elon replied, “Initially, the price will be quite high.” While answering, the founder did not specifically talk in numbers; nevertheless, he added that it would become more affordable for people to use over time.

Is the Magnificent Outcome Promised?

Musk has exhibited his revolutionary ideas to his prevalent and enthusiastic audience by showcasing them on a living specie. However, the spectators had anticipated something bigger and better, especially considering that using pigs for experimental purposes comes as no surprise for neither the scientists nor the onlookers. Therefore, the public reviews were ambivalent, varying from “wow, what a historical turning point!” to “why would we voluntarily put our brains at stake?”

Elon Musk’s mission to help patients diagnosed with the mentioned issues.

The staff has not yet notified when it will be tested on humans, so the creation can be expected to be available in markets much later. In addition to this, the company’s claim to treat medical conditions does seem to not be believable by many viewers. This is mainly based on the viewpoint that even though we have come a long way in science but there is still more for us to discover to be aware of missing elements required to restore the disorders which in today’s world, are known to be ‘irreversible.’ 

Hungry for Success

There is no stopping point for the businessman, whether living organisms roaming around with fitted microcomputers or settling in Mars. Artificial intelligence is eventually taking over the world, and despite the fear of a human-made invention becoming more powerful, tinkers will continue to bring their fantasies to life. 

Regardless of a pandemic, Science has still had some significant breakthroughs in 2020. With many more new doors to open, we can only hope for a quantum leap of new and startling scientific progress in the upcoming years.

References:

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/08/30/1007786/elon-musks-neuralink-demo-update-neuroscience-theater/

https://medium.com/datadriveninvestor/highlights-of-neuralinks-presentation-ddba1890e37a

https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/elon-musk-neuralink-advance-brains-ai

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/elon-musk-s-neuralink-puts-computer-chips-pigs-brains-bid-n1238782

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53956683

Also, read: Why Elon Musk is 21st century entrepreneur we deserve

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