Neuralink and Elon Musk Have 10,000 Electrode-Thread Brain Computer Interface

Neuralink is recruiting people to work on its brain-machine interface system. It is a less invasive system with about 10,000 electrodes in a neural-lace. Each chip has 1,000 electrode connections and they think can use up to about ten chips together in the version one system.

Later versions will scale up more. 10,000 probes that are 5 microns thick. This is less than the 100-micron thick human hair. The threads are have had designs down to 350 nanometers.

This is 1000 times the number of probes and electrodes for the best current FDA approved system and the Neuralink system is read and write to the brain.

They are currently working on trials and tests with monkeys.

Micro-fabrication can get to the size of an electron beam. They have created over 20 designs and are increasing the number of threads and electrodes. They reduce the size and increase the threads.

They want to use this system to help treat brain diseases and create a high bandwidth system for humans to achieve symbiosis with super-AI. This will create the option of merging with AI.

63 thoughts on “Neuralink and Elon Musk Have 10,000 Electrode-Thread Brain Computer Interface”

  1. I would be interesting to see where that goes. O.o I’ll look that up, thanks. Also interested to find out what’d happen if you forget to turn it off. #wowthatgotdark

  2. As with the hacks that have become near ubiquitous for most so-called “locked” systems: what happens is that the locked system stuffs up somehow, and doesn’t let the user get what they have paid for.
    So they look for a work around, and someone helpfully points them to this useful approach.
    Next minute: open slather.

  3. Fallacy. If something is bad, then its bad and it doen’st cease to be bad just because it gives you advantages.

  4. NOPE. Something that you put inside your brain. NOPE. I was all interested before, because I assumed it will be device. Not cybernetic nonsense. NOPE.

  5. Optogenetics, as the name implies, requires genetic manipulation. That’s more complex, adds a new failure mode (the genetic treatment), and may be deemed more invasive. Adult genetic manipulation is still in its infancy at best. They might consider optogenetics when gene therapy is more mature.

  6. I majored in computer engineering and human biology, with the intention of going into biomedical implants. You can take that “and then some”, and raise it to the third power. Anything that even contacts the skin is held to high standards, and it starts getting crazy once you’re talking implants.

    EMP is mostly a problem for electronics connected to long wires, like telephone lines or power lines. Or, with nuclear EMP, sometimes you have to worry about a flash of ionizing radiation flooding the substrate of your chip with carriers, and shorting the power supply through the leads. Though that level of radiation is likely to have acute biological effects even without an implant.

    I’m surprised they don’t seem to be using optogenetics. Though maybe that just wasn’t gotten into. This would allow keeping everything outside the shielded chip EMP proof, in addition to the help with long term biocompatability.

  7. I’m looking forward to advances in this area, as I’m gradually going deaf. I’m already to the point where I can’t make out all the lyrics on some of my Blue Oyster Cult albums.

    And, no, I was never a fan of overly loud music, it was an antibiotic that did it.

  8. Yeah, basically that’s because you don’t have direct pleasure center stimulation available to you. At least for other animal species, it really is that addictive.

  9. 2nd Season of Westworld, had a very interesting conjecture about “the complexity of copying and emulating a human mind.”

  10. Actually, he only went to Ringworld with Teela Brown in Ringworld. Wu’s (temporary) tasp addiction was in a sequel. The puppeteer thought to use his addiction to control him, but some people don’t like to be controlled even more than they like pleasure. Sounds about right. I stay the hell away from anything that might be addictive for that very reason (other than making my own beer and drinking one now and then . . . and I get lots of help with that).

    . . . to some people a longer, and healthier life is not enough motivation to throw away the candy bars, exercise regularly, and take their medication.

    Heck, for that matter, 34 million Americans still smoke.

  11. Yep. To which his favorite quote was, “Think of it as evolution in action.”

    I do seem to recall in Saturn’s Race (not his best) where the super man-machines had to monitor each other closely because some would get too caught up in the pleasure of reliving memories, and virtual simulations, and were then culled, I seem to recall.

  12. Louis Wu was an exceptional individual even by Known Space standards.

    Most wireheads were practically vegetables, often dying from self neglect.

  13. True, although the funny thing is that stimulating vestibular nerves is already making faster progress due to recent interest from VR.

  14. There’s a DARPA project for stimulating the hypothalamus through peripheral nerves to enhance memorization efficiency. I imagine something like this would do a better job. Just remember to turn it off when studying is done.

  15. You’re right that it could be jailbroken, but that doesn’t mean that every diabetic will do so. Many people want an incentive structure to improve their lives. Of course, if the jailbreaking software is tantalizingly waved in front of their eyes in ubiquitous internet ads, then all is lost.

  16. It’s inevitable, but resistance isn’t futile, it’s self destructive.

    Because if we don’t learn to master this and make it become what we want it to be, if we try to legislate it away, we can make a pretty good guess as to what players out there will embrace it . . . and, in many cases, we would be very unhappy with what they made of it, or used it for.

  17. Had it been around a few thousand years ago, Black Mirror would have made reading and writing (on clay tables no less) terrifying.

  18. I seem to recall Louis Wu, forcing his way through the pleasure current to overcome the individual doing it to him. He then said to his beaten and bewildered opponent something along the lines of: “You failed to realize that I’ve been around for more than two hundred years. EVERYTHING gets old.”

  19. Black Mirror is becoming short term dramatized futurism, at least in which concerns brain interfacing technologies.

    They underestimate the complexity of copying and emulating a human mind, though, if that turns out to be even possible.

  20. No, but there are discrete areas of the brain involved with each sense, for instance,the visual cortex.

  21. Not if all memory is rom except counters, and the only IO is the onboard gluose counter, pleasere enable, and the electrodes. itwould be easier to implant new hardware. i say allowed because it would be desireable to sometimes delay the output, say during a job interview. after a while the operant conditioning would change behavior beyond the consious desire for stimulus.

  22. Consumer devices are certified for EM interference tolerance (and EM emissions). I’d expect any medical device to go through the same process and then some, especially one intended to come in direct contact with people’s brains.

    For EMPs, if it can handle a lightning strike near your house, it may be able to handle an EMP. As long as it has surge protection, and you’re not running anything critical on it, you should be fine.

  23. I can’t imagine this will work, but then again most people never saw kittyhawk working either.
    It is said “advanced Technology will seem like magic to us.”
    Open your mind and think MAGIC.

  24. A diabetic is allowed to …

    Allowed by whom? Anyone/thing that is able to control the person’s behaviour enough to say when and under what conditions they can press the fun-button, would also be able to control what they ate and how much exercise they got.

    You could have a computer controlling the fun button that also measures blood glucose, but that lasts as long as it takes some smart guy to work out a “jailbreak” for your wire. As we’ve seen with everything from phones to DVD region encodings to speed limiters on vehicles, the jailbreak only takes a couple of months.

  25. The device was called a tasp. Louis Wu broke his addiction to a tasp, so that he could go to Ringworld as an explorer for the Puppeteers, along with Speaker to Animals, and Teela Brown. Ringworld is one of the best SF novels ever written.
    Like any tool, the tasp could be abused. What about this scenario?
    A diabetic is allowed to stimulate the “pleasure center” of his brain once a hour, between 8:00, and 0:00, if his blood glucose is between 90, and 120 milligrams per deciliter. A reward for doing something critical to one’s health. How is that bad?
    Believe it or not, to some people a longer, and healthier life is not enough motivation to throw away the candy bars, exercise regularly, and take their medication. It would extend millions of lives.

  26. The rat sample was using a USB-C connector. As in the eldritch horror of a spec known as USB-C. Fitting that the electrodes are worming into it’s brain like some tentacled Elder One…

    Also, behold the Version Wars, where cyborg standards vie for dominance, and people not using the defacto standard effectively facing poverty if not death when support runs out on the particular product they use.

  27. But the wireheads never bothered anyone short of leaving their corpses lying around after they forgot to eat for a few months. Let freedom ring.

  28. they won’t need a biological brain at that point… it’s just sucks the information out and leaves it as a dry husk

  29. It’s obvious, what you need for the job is a “nanobot spider” that can spin a thread of Nuerolace…. you just swallow a spider pill, the at night it secretly crawls up you spinal column… or maybe you stick it in your ear and it eats it’s way to your brain…like the usual sci-fi mind parasites that control their hosts…

  30. Behavioral modification of the criminally inclined.

    By their choice, interface can be removed upon completion of rehabilitation; though some may be required to maintain implant as the “Angel on their shoulder”.

    Of course, there’s also the possibility of one climbing into the barbers chair, getting all tucked under a nice white cover, then losing all bladder and bowel function the moment his buzzing electric shaver comes into contact with your scalp.

  31. That will very likely be the case at some point, but helping the brain to digest and comprehend the curriculum and course material with obscene efficiency is a different animal.

  32. Wouldn’t work unless the faraday cage disconnects your head from your neck.

    “Imagine a faraday cage exoskeleton!”

  33. The scale of this thing is just astounding.

    On the biz side, these guys are making the ultimate platform play. No doubt there will be competition, but the threads, the chips, and the associated placement robot, and the channel filtering/processing/compression/transmission look an awful lot like an operating system to me. The “apps” will be a particular surgical procedure and the software that goes with it.

  34. First let’s learn again to interact with other humans. And then, to the point that we still need, interact with machines without having to sustain becoming cyborgs. The only meaningful result of this is that suicide rate has increased by 33% in the last 20 years according to statistics. Do we know our real capabilities? This is the real fun and challenge to explore. Again, the fact that the Musk has managed to do it and he is all excited about it does not mean that we need to apply it.

  35. “Students could get a buzz on their smart watch when they space out in the middle of studying.”

    Studying? That’s so 2018! We just download the entire curriculum straight to the buzzer in the brain.

  36. Imagine getting a headache whenever you walk by a EM field.

    Imagine killing every citizen in a country with a single nuclear EMP.

  37. Niven saw where this goes. Wireheads. And what is the goal of a wirehead? Artificial stimulation of their brain to generate pleasure.

    A junkie by any other name.

  38. Musk: “Create a well aligned future”

    Borg: “Why do you resist?  We only wish to raise quality of life for all species.”

  39. Totally not dystopian.

    The slide about the “patient experience” is an amazing visual.

  40. Some would dispute the idea there are 5 senses. Some say a lot more. Sense of balance, etc. We have gyroscopes in our head to detect this.

  41. No, there are well identified areas of the brain associated with each sense. The process was discussed in detail in the presentation. Current cochlear implants for example use electrodes just in the area associated with hearing. Fidelity of the interface can be increased with more. There are areas associated with touch for each finger and the palm of the hand etc.

  42. There has been a lot of progress done in interpretation of the signal patterns. Some of if is simple, you tell the patient to bend his index finger while recording from appropriate portion of motor cortex and look for reproducible patterns. Then you hook up another chip that can produce the patters to the radial nerve. Say the patient has damaged cervical cord and can’t operate his hand. You have sensors on the motor cortex read off the patterns for moving the finger in a certain way send this pattern wirelessly to the second chip in the arm that reproduces the same patterns stimulating appropriate nerve directly and here you go you bridged the severed nerves or cord. Patient thinks some action and it happens naturally and wirelessly.

  43. A lot can already be done with awful through-the-scalp detection. You can pick up broad patterns like subtypes of ADD, depression, sleep disorders, OCD, etc. So even if it functioned only as a better passive reader it could be pretty powerful. Students could get a buzz on their smart watch when they space out in the middle of studying. Obviously there are dream and nightmare scenarios.

  44. I would assume the biggest issue is with interpreting brain signals and not actually detecting/recording them.

  45. Imagine the possibilities when this thing reaches 1 million electrodes connected to the 5 senses O.o

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