Elon Musk brings a quick look at his brain computing startup, Neuralink, on Friday along with showing off a surgically implanted electrical device in the head of a living pig that showcased the animal’s brain activity.
Neuralink is functioning on a certain brain-computer interface that hopes at some point to help restore brain functions in humans with disorders like seizures, blindness, and insomnia.
Musk’s experimental tech remains in its early stages. And it’s yet to be performed on humans. But Musk pitched it as a part of the near future, without acknowledging the immense technological or regulatory challenges.
During the live-streamed event, Neuralink people showed off 3 pigs, one of them was normal, one was implanted with Neuralink device, and third, had a device faraway from its skull.
Hesitant to go away its pen initially, Gertrude—a pig that has had its implant for 2 months—slowly walked within its small enclosure, sniffing hay. All the while, the technology recorded its brain activity and displayed it on an outsized screen.
What can this technology do today?
Musk mentioned that this technology can already predict the position of all of a pig’s limbs with high accuracy. Having the ability to do so is important but early steps to testing on animals regain movement in an injured or paralyzed limb.
While describing a pig with two Neuralink implants, Musk said his team wanted to prove that a living culture can have multiple devices implanted without them being visible. Having more implants would have helped, presumably, to help the brain to perform different tasks.
As for the pig that had not had an implant, Musk said that was intended to point out that the device is often removed without leaving any noticeable scars or neurological damage.