While best known for Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk has been recently making headlines with another company of his, Neuralink. He showed off the latest version of the device, which shares the name of the company, with a livestream demonstration on August 28th. After holding up the Neuralink device, he remarked that it’s “like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.”
After talking about it for a little while, the main event was bringing out pigs who had been implanted with Neuralink devices and showing they were all in good health. The brain activity of a pig named Gertrude was displayed on screen, represented with a chart and a series of tones as she sniffed about her enclosure.
They also showed a video with a Neuralink implanted pig walking on a treadmill and a chart that showed the measured position of their joints alongside the position predicted by detected brain activity. The neural activity based prediction was impressively accurate in comparison.
Neuralink’s near future application will be a clinical trial to help those with severe spinal cord injuries. The hope is that Neuralink can eventually be used along with a secondary device to reroute brain signals past the damaged spinal cord, restoring mobility. More short term, the implant may allow control of prosthetic limbs.
Musk also talked about the potential far future uses of Neuralink tech, including saving and replaying memories, or telepathically summoning a car. While interesting to think about, the technology is currently quite a ways away from making these things possible.