Recently crossing the 100-Billion mark, entrepreneur Elon Musk’s neuroscience startup Neuralink, revealed some interesting information regarding their product that might revolutionize the medical field. The company revealed the recent development in their experiment in the field of neuroscience. They announced that for two months, they have been experimenting on an animal (a pig) with a coin-sized computer chip in its brain. This experiment demonstrates an early step towards the goal of curing neurological diseases in human with the same type of implant.
Co-founded by Musk in 2016, San Francisco-based Neuralink aims to implant wireless brain-computer interfaces that include thousands of electrodes in the most complex human organ. If successful, these experiments can help cure neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia and spinal cord injuries and eventually weld mankind with artificial intelligence. “An implantable device can actually solve these problems,” Musk stated on a webcast Friday, citing ailments such as memory loss, hearing loss, depression and insomnia.
But Musk said the focus of Friday’s event was their recruiting process for Neuralink.”We’re not trying to raise money,” Musk responded. “We’re trying to convince great people to come work at Neuralink.” Musk has a history of bringing together diverse experts to drastically expedite the development of innovations earlier limited to academic labs, including rocket, hyperloop and electrical vehicle technologies through corporations like Tesla Inc and SpaceX.
Neuralink has secured a $158 million in funding so far, $100 million of which came from Musk’s end, and has employed approximately 100 staff members, according to LinkedIn data.During a Neuralink presentation in July 2019, Musk announced that the company was aiming to obtain regulatory approval to implant its device in human trials by the end of this year. Besides healthcare, Musk, who often warns about the risks of artificial intelligence, has said the implant would “secure humanity’s future as a civilization relative to AI.”
Small devices that electronically stimulate nerves and brain areas to treat hearing loss in humans have been in the market for decades.Neuroscientists have also carried out brain implant trials with a small number of people who have lost control of bodily functions due to spinal cord injuries or neurological conditions like strokes.
Brain-machine interface science has had a roll in investment activity over the recent years with startups such as Kernel, Paradromics and NeuroPace trying to utilize advancements in material, wireless and signalling technology. Amy Orsborn, an assistant professor at the University of Washington who researches neural interfaces, said that, “I don’t think we know what the magic bullet is, we only know the problem.”