Elon Musk invested in Neuralink, a fully implanted, wireless, high-channel-count brain-machine interface (BMI). The technology has been tested on a monkey that was trained to play games to get its favorite smoothies. Most recently, Neuralink publicized a satisfying result of the monkey finally gaming without using any kind of joystick.
Released in 2020, this Link allows one to stream and record signals that were sent to the brain.
Tested on pigs, these wireless electrodes eliminate the need for wires and allow people to observe the sensory cues. The pigs have sensitive snouts, and as it smells around, the Link picks up the neurons that were streamed to a display.
Elon Musk previously tweeted that our monkeys would soon be on Discord and Twitch. Now, it doesn't seem so far away.
A monkey is literally playing a video game telepathically using a brain chip!!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2021
Scientists implanted two Links in the macaque monkey and it will catch the neural activity that is transmitted to the computer screen in front of him.
"By modeling the relationship between different patterns of neural activity and intended movement directions, we can build a model (i.e., “calibrate a decoder”) that can predict the direction and speed of an upcoming or intended movement," Neuralink site explained.
The Link is also implanted in the arm, and other motor cortex of the monkey used when playing games. But as the game continues and the Link could predict which neurons firing means what, it starts bypassing that could relay the commands in real-time.
Elon Musk also tweeted that he's discussing with the US Food and Drug Administration to allow for human trials at the end of this year.
First @Neuralink product will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2021
This is Pager, a 9-year-old Macaque monkey that loves gaming and smoothies.
Soon our monkey will be on twitch & discord haha— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2021
Impressive feats were achieved as Pager played MindPong perfectly well.
Neuralink's goal is to help "people with paralysis to directly use their neural activity to operate computers and mobile devices with speed and ease."
Elon Musk explained, "Later versions will be able to shunt signals from Neuralinks in the brain to Neuralinks in body motor/sensory neuron clusters, thus enabling, for example, paraplegics to walk again."
"The device is implanted flush with skull and charges wirelessly, so you look and feel totally normal."
Watch Pager nailing the game so well!
Kathy Guillermo, Senior Vice President of animal charity PETA commented that she hopes this Neuralink would prove different from other animal experiments where 'nothing had come out.'
"Neuralink would break real scientific ground if its research left animals out and actually helped humans."