Elon Musk unveiled Neuralink nearly a year ago, and it appears we’ll be getting a progress update in August that further details the company’s research into brain-computer interfaces (BCIs).
Musk announced the event via Twitter earlier this month, however didn’t include any info as to what the progress update would entail.
Although the company is likely waiting for the big day to further details its research, Musk now says in a Tweet that the event will “show neurons firing in real-time on August 28th,” adding cryptically that it’s like “[t]he matrix in the matrix.”
The company’s ‘N1 sensor’ prototype implant was presented as a very small, implantable system on a chip (SoC) that has thin ‘threads’ that measure 4 to 6 μm in width. The company’s first implant is targeting disabled and/or diseased patients with damaged brain functions, such as spinal cord injuries.
The implant, which is supposed to attach to an external device that can be easily removed when not in use, is said to be capable of measuring spikes in the brain’s electrical current. The end goal is reading, processing, and eventually ‘writing’ information back to neurons via these tiny, flexible threads.
What’s more, Musk said at the company’s unveiling that he wants Neuralink’s neural implants to one day become as common as LASIK outpatient procedures are today, something he continues to paint as the startup’s raison d’être.
Yes, should be possible to create a neural shunt from motor cortex to microcontrollers in muscle groups & restore movement even if someone has a fully severed spinal cord. First part has already been demonstrated with Utah array, but not as an outpatient device.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2020
As mentioned last year, the startup hopes to facilitate this sort of outpatient procedure by creating its own neurosurgical robot capable of inserting six threads (192 electrodes) per minute, the company says in its first research paper.
Neuralink’s ambitions are fairly clear: start a company that will one day serve neuro-typical users, and not just those with disabilities. What isn’t clear is how the company will get there, which is something we hope to learn more about on August 28th.
In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Neuralink, check out our wrap-up of the startup’s inaugural event which covers everything from the N1 sensor to the surgical robots the company unveiled last year.