Welcome at the edge of two worlds where reality and science fiction mixed. Become hard to differentiate between them.
Neuralink Elon Musk’s such a dream project is dedicated to overcoming from AI singularity against humans.
As we know what they did against the human race in terminator movies.
Elon Musk founded Neuralink company recently in 2016 at San Francisco only for research and development for neural simulation.
For a deeper understanding of the things or processes in which electrical pulses ( signals ) exchange between the brain and machines such as robotic arm or leg.
Sci-fi movies like matrix, universal solder are good examples to understand neural simulation.
But recent movie upgrade is very much similar to the Neuralink chip concept.
What is Neuralink Elon Musk project
Whole idea comes in mind of Elon Musk from neural lace. Which is the part of famous sci-fi novel series ‘ The Culture ‘ written by Iain M Banks .
He personally invest in neuralink around $100 million and rest $58 million by other investors.
Research is based to develop chip can be implant inside the human brain.
Chip will work as bridge between human brain and machines or computer directly without any input or output device (keyboard, touchscreen) interface.
Initial aim is to develop as neuroprosthetics that can be use to control prosthetic body parts like leg, arm of physically disable peoples.
Later plan to interface with computer wireless network to exchange information to and from human brain.
At last merging human brain with AI ( artificial Intelligence ). Even grow and transfer complete human sentience between brain and machine.
In the field of AI as OpenAI company Elon Musk already taken initiative.
Initially, the company maintained very secrecy and people never heard any word about it. But Later in 2017 lots of news come out.
According to Bloomberg company successfully demonstrate the data transfer between the rat’s brain and computer.
The year 2019 reveals that tests on mice and apes have been done. Now will start human trials from the year 2020.
May be neuralink human trials signup already started.
For sure after the success of human trials neuralink some kind of initial product launching will be possible and then the stock will start to rise.
According to Tech Times on 1 August 2020 Elon Musk said the chip will be able to stream music directly inside the human brain.
Even more, then that person can hear those frequencies which are not possible to hear for a normal person.
But the most important reveal is that chips can help to restore physical movements for peoples who are fully severed spinal cord.
The project is based on three main parts Neuralink ASIC Chip, Electrodes, and Robot.
In the words of musk, it is a “digital layer above the cortex” to interact with every neuron impulses.
The core is built around an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). Which is customize FPGA (field-programmable gate array).
which integrates programmable amplifiers called “analog pixels”, on-chip analog-to-digital converters (ADC).
Also real-time temperature monitor, magnetometer sensors, and accelerometer.
USB-C connector circuitry for serialized full-bandwidth data transfer digital output.
Each analog pixel is configurable its properties very precisely like gains and filter.
properties need to calibrate because of frequent changes in signal-quality due to process and electrophysiological environment.
There are two versions of the chip first is the 1,536 channel which has less resolution but the sampling rate is 19.3 kHz and consumes only 550 mW power.
Secondly chip with 3,072 channels which have less sampling rate 18.6 kHz and consume more power 750 mW for extra channel resolution.
But both have their advantages like a second chip used where high-resolution channels are required.
First chip with 1,536 channels used with those applications where faster and reliable performance is required.
A) ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) block with 256 channels. Each chip has 12 blocks to process 3,072 channel data.
B) Electrodes connected to the chip made of polymer threads on the parylene-c substrate.
Specially design for electrodes that can be inserted inside the brain with the help of a robot.
C) Chip enclosed with titanium case.
D) Mini USB-c data connector provides power to low power ASIC chip and port for data exchange.
Electrodes and Threads
Neuralink developed its own process to produce neural electrodes that displace neuron tissues very less and bio-compatible.
Thin-film material polyimide is the main dielectric used in these electrodes. which encapsulates with a thin gold film.
Each thin-film electrode array is divided into two parts thread and sensor.
Thread is electrode contacts and traces.
Whereas sensors where the thin film interfaces with chip that enable signal amplification and acquisition.
A) “Linear Edge” probes, with 32 electrode contacts spaced by 50 μm.
B) “Tree” probes with 32 electrode contacts spaced by 75 μm.
C) Increased magnification of individual electrodes for the thread design in panel A, emphasizing their small geometric surface area.
D) Distribution of electrode impedance (measured at 1 kHz) for two surface treatments: PEDOT (n = 257) and IrOx (n = 588).
Although electrodes thread made of thin-film polymers it has low bending stiffness.
Which makes it hard to insert without damaging tissues and maintain less distance between a large amount of electrodes insertion inside the brain tissues.
To overcome such an issue researchers develop their own robot and develop a process to implant electrodes with a lot more efficiency and accuracy.
Simply robot works like a sewing machine that stitches thread like electrodes between the brain tissues.
Also, protect blood vessels from puncher during electrodes insertion between the brain tissues.
For higher precision and accuracy in the insertion of electrodes, the entire process is planned and closely observe.
Although the whole process is fully automated but still an option for manual adjustments.
Inserter head is equipped with imaging tools that guide and verify the process.
Imaging tools mount on the inserted head have six lights of 405 nm, 525 nm, 650 nm independent from each other.
Witch illuminate each insertion to allow visualize each insertion using exitation of fluorescence of polymer electrode.
System also make record of brain tissue location and coordinates of each electrode.
A) Loaded needle pincer cartridge.
B) Low-force contact brain position sensor.
C) Independent wavelengths light modules.
D) Motor for needle movement.
E) One of the four cameras focused on the needle for monitoring during insertion.
F) Wide angle Camera for monitoring surgical area.
G) Stereoscopic cameras for process computer vision.
neuralink trying to develop The BCI (brain-computer interface ) technology has many promising features to help peoples suffering from many clinical disorders.
In the many experiments, researchers demonstrate that information transfer between brain and computer is possible.
Experiments show only with 256 channels any person can control a speech synthesizer, robotic prosthetic limbs.
Right now the main hurdle for researchers is not able to record large numbers of neuron activity.
Firstly with non-invasive methods can record up to millions of neuron activity through the skull but collected information is not specific and distorted.
Other hands in invasive methods microelectrodes are placed on the surface of the cortex and record clear and specific information.
But microelectrodes invasive method have the ability to record only a few thousands of neuron activity.
To scale up neuron activity recording with precision require biocompatible microelectrodes which can implant through the surgical procedure.
Another part is electronics should have less power consumption, flexible, fully wireless chargeable, and enable wireless data transfer.
Elon Musk opens a new window for the future which will lead in coming years new boom in healthcare.
People with artificial organs like actual but more efficient. May be cyborg will become reality.
As soon as researchers become successful to cover the entire cortex with the vascular electrodes. Make them able to transfer human consciousness into the machine.
Later it can be transfer into humanoid robot or human clone.
Other than neuralink research also like a revolution in the brain-computer interface.
For example, in the year 2008 Computational Neuroscience Laboratories Kyoto japan succeeded to develop ATR ( Advanced Telecommunications Research).
Using MEG ( Magnetoencephalography ) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging ) able to reconstruct images from the human brain in black and white.
Some researchers are concentrating to use PSTD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
It is a severe trauma patient condition who survived in war, accident, or near-death experience.
Is Neuralink real?
Yes seems like another Sci-fi story but it’s a $158 Million company founded by Elon Musk in the year 2016.
Presently head office in Pioneer Building in San Francisco USA.
What will Neuralink do?
The company focus is to develop brain-computer interface based products.
Which are new pioneers in the health industry.
Revolutionary treatments possible using BCI like visibly diable person able to see again using a camera.
On 1 August 2020 Elon musk said neuralink chip can stream music directly inside the mind.
As technology and research will grow the capacity of the chip also will increase and must be able to perform more complex tasks.
What is the purpose of Neuralink?
The main purpose is to be a market leader in the coming brain-computer interface product market.
As Elon Musk did before in the field of electric cars make company Tesla and space X the first private space vehicle.
Similarly in the field of brain-computer interface, there is a huge market for healthcare products, artificial organs, military applications, gaming, and many more part of science fiction stories.
In the plans going to combine with AI and already start working on it.