Neuralink is a brain-computer interface cheap that is designed for helping physically or mentally challenged people. They claim that in near future they can help people with Blindness, paralysis, memory loss, brain damage, extreme pain, etc., and also they claim that through Neuralink a person can control a computer/phone wirelessly faster than a human without Neuralink (currently possible), can do telepathy( talking to someone without speaking), will have supervision and more.
Neuralink was started in the year 2016 by Elon musk and it’s working since then. Neuralink is 8mm in diameter and have has multiple wires housing electrodes and insulation for the wires. The width of these wires is estimated to be the same as the width of a neuron which is thinner than a strand of hair at 100 micrometers.
According to a recently launched video from Neuralink, they claim that a 9-year-old macaque monkey named, Pager can control and play a computer game “Pong”, the surprising part here is that Pager can control the game without any controller, he controls the game just by thinking, with his mind. And he was able to do that because of a Neuralink’s N1 chip which was implanted in his brain about 6 weeks before this demo.
How Neuralink is working
This scene is not less than a Hollywood sci-fiction movie. According to the narrator, there are two chips implanted in Pager’s brain which consists of approx 1000 tiny electrodes each. The Pager then plays a video game (where it had to move a token to different squares using a joystick with his hand) using a joystick in returns he gets banana smoothie as a reward during that these tiny electrodes record the signal coming from the neurons whenever any hand and arm movements are made.
These data are then used to train machine learning to anticipate the next movement of the controller by Pager and was eventually able to predict the next movement of the Pager’s hand before even he made it. After predicting Pager’s hand movement with high accuracy with Neuralink’s N1 chip, the team then disconnected the controller from the screen, and Pager was able to control the game with his mind (with the help of the N1 chip).
This is not the first time when Neuralink showcases its performance. Before the Pager, Neuralink has also demonstrated his working with a pig who was also implanted with it. Neuralink showed how they can read the brain signals of the pig depending on the different stimuli.
What Neuroscience Expert says about this
But according to Andrew Jackson (Neuroscience Expert, Professor at Newcastle University), there’s nothing new in getting primates to control video games via a neural interface we already had this kind of things technology before and have done this kind of demonstration in 2002 as well.
But it is a good test of tech as he says "If you invent a new telescope, it makes sense to first point it where you know what you will see,”. Jackson believes that this device will contribute to lots of new scientific discoveries in the future and advancement in the usability of existing neural interface technology for people with paralysis
Jackson is also impressed by the engineering of the device, said that "being implanted wirelessly in Pager's skull was a significant advancement". He also mentions that "What is definitely new and innovative is that there are no cables coming through the skin, and the brain signals are all being sent wirelessly," Which is very important for both improving human safety and also for improving the welfare of the animal used in neuroscience studies. Read more about Neuralink