Neuralink is a company focused on creating a brain machine interface, or BMI. It was founded by Elon Musk in 2016 and announced to the public in 2017. Brain machine interfaces are a type of technology that allow the brain to directly communicate with a device. Neuralink is working to create a neural implant that will allow the brain to control computers and cell phones. The Neuralink BMI functions by implanting threads that contain thousands of electrodes into the brain. These threads are placed in neurons that reside in areas of the brain that control movement. The implantation process would occur through a surgery with a developing robotic system. The threads then connect to the Link, which is Neuralink’s brain implant. The Link records the brain’s information, processes it, and then relays the information to the chosen device that it is connected to. Neuralink has designed an application that will give the brain access to control the device. There have been no clinical trials conducted yet as this technology is still being created, although safety is at the forefront of the research design. The main goal of the Neuralink BMI and the Link is to give people with neurological disorders more freedom. For example, one benefit would be allowing paralysis patients the ability to better communicate and express themselves through technology. The Neuralink BMI is designed to be used as a medical device and with further research will bring assistance to those affected by neurological disorders.
This article was written by Bioethics Minor student Katherine Hansen
Katherine Hansen is a second year undergraduate student at Loyola Marymount University, pursuing her Bachelors in Psychology with a Minor in a Bioethics.