On Friday, Elon Musk showed the progress his brain-computer interface company Neuralink has made in recent months and presented in a live demo a brain chip that has already been used in a pig for two months.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has funded the start-up Neuralink since 2016, designing tiny flexible "threads" ten times thinner than a human hair with the goal of treating brain injuries and trauma. The company is also working on the further development of artificial intelligence - the threads are intended to feed the AI with human data. Last Friday, Musk showed a coin-sized chip called Link V0.9, an implant that can be inserted into the human brain to cure diseases such as Parkinson's, loss of sight or hearing, or blindness and paralysis.
According to Musk, the insertion of the chip, which he also referred to as a "Fitbit in the head", does not require a general anesthetic and could be performed by robots in about an hour. If everything goes smoothly during the procedure, not even blood should flow - a small scar will remain, says Musk. During the live demonstration, Musk showed real-time neural signals from a pig called Gertrude, which has been carrying the implant in its brain for two months.
Experts see great opportunities for sick people in this technology. Chad Bouton, vice president for advanced engineering at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York told CNBC that the technology can open up new ways for people with disabilities and conditions such as ALS to be able to move and speak again. However, there may still be a long way to go before Musk's technology is ready for the market: "There will be ethical and safety issues to resolve," Bouton says. You can watch the whole presentation here.