Elon Musk‘s Neuralink company is getting ready for its first brain implant surgery. Setting out for a volunteer, the surgeon is expected to cut into their skull to introduce electrodes and a small set of wires in the participant’s brain.
Bloomberg reported that the company has specific requirements for the first volunteer. Neuralink is looking for a quadriplegic adult under the age of 40. The surgery would require a large piece of the person’s skull to be removed in order to fit and insert the thin wires and electrodes into their brain. The removed portion of the skull would be replaced with a small computer that will stay there for a number of undisclosed years. To put it into perspective, the computer will be the size of a quarter and is expected to read the brain activity of the individual. The data can then be tracked on a laptop or tablet.
With the implant, the purpose of the test is to show the public that the procedure is a safe way to collect data from the brain. It is supposed to help transfer a person’s thoughts into command on a computer. The robot inserting the implant will place the small computer into the hand knob area of the person’s premotor cortex. Using the technology dubbed “R1,” the seven foot tall robot is used to push 64 threads, which is 1/14th of the diameter of a strand of human hair into the brain. Each of the threads carry 16 electrodes to gather data. After years of development, Neuralink is finally ready to take the next step.
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