Elon Musk is touting his Neuralink venture’s “Link” deep brain stimulator implant as a less invasive deep brain stimulation system — disclosing new details about the device.
Neuralink had previously only described its technology in broad strokes, as “ultra-high-bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.” During a press conference last year, Musk and company officials said they planned to file for FDA approval for human trials in 2020.
Speaking on a webcast, Musk detailed some aspects of the system, which is a small device with a rechargeable battery meant to last a full day, wires embedded in the cortical surface of the brain for continuously recording 1,024 channels of neural signals at once, a six-axis inertial measurement unit for tracking head movement, more sensors for measurables like temperature and a Bluetooth antenna to connect with a smartphone app.
A less invasive device than other DBS systems that are implanted around the chest area, Link is implanted through the skull. Musk saying it could be implanted in less than one hour in an outpatient setting and without the use of general anesthesia, with options for removal or upgrades down the line.
In the webcast, Musk showcased three pigs — one without an implant, one with an implant from two months ago and one who previously received an implant. Link accurately predicted the location of the implanted pig’s limbs in real-time while it walked on a treadmill. Additionally, in the display, the implanted pig gave off a sound indicating that areas of its brain associated with its snout were active.
The FDA granted Neuralink breakthrough device designation in July, according to a Medgadget report, and clinical trials could follow after further development, although Musk said the company would have to “significantly exceed” guidelines to get the FDA onside.
Musk has touted the Link system as a potential treatment for spine and brain issues, while also sharing a “wishlist” that includes autism treatment and non-linguistic communication.
Original Article: (https://www.massdevice.com/elon-musks-neuralink-moving-forward-with-brain-implant/)