Elon Musk confirm that your company Neuralink implanted the first brain chip in a person. The product, called Telepathy, is aimed at patients who have lost the use of their limbs. “He is recovering well,” said the billionaire.
Such an ambitious – but already tangible – announcement is followed by an equally broad question: What is the scope of such an advance in the link between technology and human biology?
The news of the first Neuralink implant in humans comes nine months after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA, in English, like our ANMAT) gave its approval for the company to begin making studies in people.
As they explain, the implant will be able to “read” brain activity to send orders that restore brain functions damaged by a heart attack or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which lead to serious consequences in communication capacity.
“It allows you to control your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking,” described the tycoon in X (formerly Twitter), a social network that he bought years ago. And he added: “Imagine If only Stephen Hawking could communicate faster. than a quick typist or an auctioneer. That’s the goal.”
Musk’s foray into brain chips is a paradigm shift. Because Neuralink also aspires to be able to transfer information toward the brain, not from the brain to the outside, as happens today with implants that connect to computers that interpret signals coming from the head.
On the other hand, Neuralink is planning in parallel two types of implantsone to restore vision “even in those who never had it” and another to restore basic bodily functions in people with paralysis due to spinal cord damage, and to improve the quality of life of people with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
“This brain chip seeks to create a brain/machine interface, which allows direct communication of the brain with electronic devices. In one sense, and in the other. The way the brain transmits signals, impulses, is something good biological, completely different from a device. So, you require something in the middlethat translates the two operating languages,” he explains to Clarion Alejandro Andersson, neurosurgeon specializing in Alzheimer’s.
This “translator,” he says, “are small flexible electrodes (thread-like, thinner than hair, causing minimal injury upon entry) that are implanted in the brain, which could eventually also, in a moment, improve memory or, as is spoken, to achieve direct communication between two brains”. says it all a future.
These threads detect and record the activity of neurons, allowing the reading of these signals with high precision.
“At first they used this information to understand and decode brain signals. To understand how the brain works and from there to control external devices or, conversely, to influence neurological processes,” continues the expert.
andersson brand that “We see something of this today in cochlear implants”, a device that allows a person with profound deafness to be given a sensation of sound (through electrical stimuli). A part of the implant is is the head and another outside.
“The important thing is that for the first time Neuralink implanted, with a surgical robot, a special chip for quadriplegic people. The goal is for them to control devices with thought, without the need for physical interaction. In this experience they will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of this brain/computer interface. After that, the scope of the ad will be seen,” he points out.
The neurosurgeon Matías Baldoncini also mentions Clarion other brain implants already in use.
“They don’t know each other French fries. Son brain stimulation devices to combat, for example, epilepsy, Parkinson’s or other neurological diseases that cause movement disorders – he details -. “Those devices are connected to a generator (or stimulator).”
Through microneurosurgery techniques, he explains, small cables (electrodes) are placed in certain superficial or deep structures of the brain, to receive or emit information.
“In neurosurgery, the union between science and technology has existed for several years. There is the neuromodulation (the connection and regulation from a computer of the devices mentioned above)”, he concludes, and thus gives more support to the future promised by Musk.