Image used for representation purpose. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
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Elon Musk’s Neuralink is developing fully implantable, brain-machine interface (BMI) with an aim to help people with paralysis use their brain to control devices and even their limbs in the future.
In a tweet on Friday, Musk said, “First Neuralink product will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.”
The California-based firm said in a blog post it wants people with paralysis to directly use their neural activity to operate computers and mobile devices with speed and ease. It will enable them to communicate more easily via text, follow their curiosity on the web, express their creativity through photography and art, and play video games, the company noted.
“Later versions will be able to shunt signals from Neuralinks in brain to Neuralinks in body motor/sensory neuron clusters, thus enabling, for example, paraplegics to walk again,” Musk said in a follow-up tweet.
Musk’s tweets came after Neuralink revealed a macaque monkey, named Pager, playing ‘pong’ video game with its mind, dubbed “MindPong” by the company. Pager was implanted with two Neuralink devices, one in the left motor cortex, which controls movements of the right side of the body, and another in the right motor cortex, which controls the left side of the body, the firm explained.
The brain-implant making company used its 1,024 electrode fully-implanted neural recording and data transmission device, called N1 Link. “MindPong is an initial demonstration of the potential capabilities of the N1 Link,” the company said.
Neuralink intends to develop the Link further to help people with neurological disorders and disabilities. It could potentially be used to restore physical mobility, the firm noted. “To achieve this, we'd use the Link to read signals in the brain and use them to stimulate nerves and muscles in the body, thereby allowing the person to once again control their own limbs,” it explained.
Eventually, Neuralink wants “to build a safe and effective clinical BMI system that is wireless and fully implantable that users can operate by themselves and take anywhere they go.”
“The device is implanted flush with skull & charges wirelessly, so you look & feel totally normal,” Musk said.
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