Electric vehicles, rockets… and now brain-computer interfaces. Elon Musk’s newest venture, Neuralink, aims to bridge the gap between humans and artificial intelligence by implanting tiny chips that can link up to the brain. At a press conference on July 16, Neuralink’s ambitious plans were detailed for the first time, showcasing a future (a very distant future!) technology that could help people deal with brain or spinal cord injuries or controlling 3D digital avatars.
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Neuralink Corporation is an American neurotechnology company founded by Elon Musk and others, developing implantable brain–computer interfaces (BCIs). The company’s headquarters are in San Francisco; it was started in 2016 and was first publicly reported in March 2017.
Since its founding, the company has hired several high-profile neuroscientists from various universities. By July 2019, it had received $158 million in funding (of which $100 million from Musk) and was employing a staff of 90 employees. At that time, Neuralink announced that it was working on a “sewing machine-like” device capable of implementing very thin threads into the brain, demonstrated a system that read information from a lab rat via 1500 electrodes (said to be 15 times more than the current maximum for systems used in human brains), and anticipated to start experiments with humans in 2020.