Digital Media Concepts/Neuralink

Neuralink is an American neurotechnology company founded in 2016 by Elon Musk and others, which is developing a system that can be surgically inserted into the brain to help analyze electrical signals, discover solutions for medical conditions, and enable you to interact with machines. In order to create a communication route between the brain and digital devices, the company is using neural implant technology to construct brain-computer interfaces (BCI).[1] The company is located in San Francisco.[2]

So far, this "medical research company" has raised $158 million in funding by chipping $100 million into Elon Musk himself. The company has now expanded to a total of 100 Neuralink employees after initially only hiring 13 people, working to build the "thread-like" neural implant device. This system consists of a tiny probe containing almost 3,000 electrodes connected to flexible threads to be implanted into movement-controlled regions of the brain.[3]

Overview edit

In July 2016, Neuralink was founded by Elon Musk, Max Hodak, Tim Hanson, Tim Gardner, Vanessa Tolosa, Ben Rapoport, Paul Merolla, Dongjin Seo, and Phillip Sabes, with Max Hodak as President.

In the short term, the aim of the company is to help people with brain injuries and find cures to brain diseases, while it plans to develop a fully functional machine-human interface in the future. Their long term is to create a “whole-brain interface”, which helps the human brain connect wirelessly with computers and other brains with the same interface. Musk is optimistic about the device being brought into public use, without medical assistance, within the next 8-10 years. The company plans to install a chip in the human skull that has multiple wires that house electrodes to connect to the neurons in your brain. At 100 micrometers, they claim that the wires are even thinner than a single strand of hair. Musk has decided to call this the ‘neural lace’, which was inspired by the series of science fiction novels, The Culture by lain M. Banks.[4][5]

How it works edit

The human brain uses neurons to communicate and send information to different parts of the body. This forms a large network inside the brain and the neurons connect with each other using neurotransmitters, which are chemical signals within the brain. This communication and chain of reactions creates an electric field, allowing you to document those reactions with nearby  electrodes. The electrodes translate the electrical signals in your brain into algorithms that can be read by machines. The Neuralink device, therefore, will function to understand what you are thinking and turn that into a way for you to communicate with machines without speaking.[6]

Neuralink plans to do this by potentially putting a chip behind your ear, with the wires containing electrodes moving towards the brain. Musk described it as “a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.” With the installation procedure being so complicated, the company has decided that the chips will be installed by a robot specially developed by Neuralink as well. The robot will be designed to install the chip without touching any blood arteries or veins.

The company claims that this operation will need a 2mm incision, dilated upto 8mm and the chipset module will cover the exposed part of the skull once the operation is over. The operation would take approximately 2 hours to complete and the patient might be put under partial anaesthesia for it.[7][8]

August 28th announcement edit

On August 28th, 2020, Elon Musk gave the world live stream updates on the company. In this update, he introduced us to the chip the company has made, called the Link. It is a coin size chip with 1024 channels,  megabit wireless data rate and all-day battery life. Musk also presented Gertrude, a pig that had the chip installed in her approximately 2 months ago, to show the progress that Neuralink had made and the future interface it was working towards.[9] To show this progress, some speakers played out ringtones during the event that Musk claimed were recordings of the animal’s neurons communicating, in real time. Although it was described as a product demonstration, the event did not present a Neuralink product that is up for sale yet.[10]

The company said that it hoped to develop such BCIs which can be installed in under an hour at a doctor’s office but no evidence of human testing has yet been provided. Musk evaded questions about timelines throughout the event but the company remains hopeful to gain some breakthroughs soon.[11]

References edit

  1. Wetsman, N. (2020, September 29). Elon Musk's Neuralink: What's science and what's not. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  2. Dawson Sewell, M. (n.d.). Neuralink - Wiki. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  3. Statt, N. (2017, March 27). Elon Musk launches Neuralink, a venture to merge the human brain with AI. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  4. A quick guide to Elon Musk's new brain-implant company, Neuralink. (2017, November 20). Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  5. Lacoma, T. (2017, November 07). Neuralink: Everything You Need to Know About Elon Musk's New Startup. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  6. A quick guide to Elon Musk's new brain-implant company, Neuralink. (2017, November 20). Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  7. John, C. (2020, July 24). Neuralink Explained: How We Will Talk To Machines Using Our Brain. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  8. Lopatto, E. (2019, July 17). Elon Musk unveils Neuralink's plans for brain-reading 'threads' and a robot to insert them. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  9. Vance, A. (2019, July 17). Elon Musk's Neuralink Says It's Ready to Begin Brain Surgery. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  10. Neuralink: Elon Musk unveils pig with chip in its brain. (2020, August 29). Retrieved October 13, 2020, from
  11. Hamilton, I. (2020, August 26). Elon Musk's AI brain chip company Neuralink is doing its first live tech demo on Friday. Here's what we know so far about the wild science behind it. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from

Additional Resources edit

Neuralink Website: