Elon Musk says he wired a monkey’s brain to play video games with his mind on Science & Tech News
Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, claims another of his companies wired a monkey’s brain to “play video games with its mind”.
Neuralink Corporation, which Mr. Musk owns, previously claimed to have implanted coin-sized wireless sensors in the brain of two pigsand describes the sensors as “Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires”.
In a speech in the private social app Clubhouse on Sunday evening, the entrepreneur said Neuralink has “a monkey with a wireless implant in the skull with tiny wires” on which he is testing his technology.
“You can’t see where the implant is and he’s a happy monkey,” added Musk, before explaining that there would be another announcement in the coming months.
The billionaire told callers that a US Department of Agriculture inspector called the company’s lab “the most beautiful monkey facility” they’d ever examined.
“We went the extra mile for the monkeys,” said Mr Musk.
“One of the things we want to find out is if we can get the monkeys to play pong together? That would be pretty cool.”
The tiny implant the company developed has more than 3,000 electrodes attached to flexible threads that are about a tenth the size of a hair and can monitor about 1,000 neurons.
The ultimate goal is to create a brain-computer interface that will be tested to treat people with brain and spinal injuries.
Neuralink’s chief surgeon, Dr. Matthew MacDougall said the initial studies would focus on patients with paralysis or paraplegia, although he had not given a date for starting these studies.
According to the company, the technology could help cure neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia and spinal cord injuries.
Mr Musk said last year that the implantable device “could actually solve these problems” and also mentioned memory loss, hearing loss, depression and insomnia.
Some of the more conceptual ideas touted by Mr. Musk are not yet considered feasible by scientists, including some sort of “safe state” in the brain.
“So if you died, your condition could be returned in the form of another human body or a robot body,” he said. “You could choose whether you want to be a robot or a person or whatever.”