This article is from WeChat official account:Zhuan (ID: xingshu100), author: creating, editing: Tian Xiaonuo, title figure from: vision China

As early as February this year, Elon Musk (Elon Musk) revealed in Clubhouse’s chat room that Neuralink has successfully A Neuralink device is implanted in the brain of a monkey, and the monkey can use brain waves to play video games.

He claimed that the monkey “has a wireless implant with tiny wires attached to its skull.” The monkey “is not uncomfortable, and it doesn’t look strange.” “You can’t even see the nerve implant. where”.

He stated that Neuralink will publish a video of this experiment soon.

Neuralink is a medical research company founded by Musk in 2016. It specializes in Brain Computer Excuse (BCI) and hires well-known neuroscientists from many universities.

Neuralink’s goal is to use “neural lace” technology (Note: implanting micro-electrodes in the brain allows people to directly gain computing power) Develop a brain-computer interface to help restore various brain-related problems, including restoring vision and limb function, addressing memory decline, and even planning to treat depression through brain chip implants.

But the company’s ultimate goal is to essentially “upgrade” humans through technology so that they can interact with computer equipment in thought, “Symbiosis” with artificial intelligence.

Just yesterday, Neuralink released a video of monkeys playing a game of table tennis through brain waves, making their ambitious goals seem feasible.

The monkey in the video is called Pager and is 9 years old. About six weeks before the video was taken, its left motor cortex was (control body Right side motion) and the right side motor cortex (control body left side motion) are implanted with Neuralink devices.

The game it plays is a two-dimensional sports game that simulates table tennis. The player hits the table tennis by moving the racket vertically on the left or right side of the screen. Because Pager uses brain waves to play games, Musk has turned it into “Mind Pong(Mind Pong) span>.

Initially, in order to let Pager learn to use the joystick to play video games, the staff would deliver banana milkshakes through metal straws as a reward. In the video, Pager uses the joystick to move the ball into the colored square in the game.

At the same time, the Neuralink device will record which neurons in the brain emit signals when Pager uses the joystick to play the game, and then decode it by the computer, record these brain signals for prediction through machine learning The trajectory of the monkey moving the ball and its hand movement.

By modeling the relationship between the different patterns of Pager neural activity and the expected direction of movement, Neuralink can predict the direction and speed of upcoming or expected movement, and use these predictions to control the movement of the computer cursor in real time, or as in Control the movement of the racket as in the video.

After that, the joystick was removed, and Pager could only continue playing the game with his own mind without the joystick.

For example, When the monkey’s brain wants to move the racket upwards, the neurons in the upward direction will significantly increase its firing rate, and when the monkey wants to move the racket down, the neurons in the downward direction will Improve its discharge rate.

When playing 2D games, The spatial pattern of the orientation adjustment of each electrode of the Pager implant in the brain

Musk also announced more news about Neuralink on Twitter, saying: “The first Neuralink product can make paralyzed patients who use their smartphones through their minds faster than those who use their fingers. .”

He also stated that the future version of Neuralink can shunt Neuralink signals in the brain to the neural Neuralink in the body’s motor/sensory neuron clusters, so that patients with paralysis can walk again.

Musk believes that in the age of artificial intelligence, we can only changeBecome a “cyborg”(Note: the fusion system of human and electronic machinery), so as not to become useless Of people. To continue to be valuable to the economy, “the integration of biological intelligence and machine intelligence” is essential.

Along the way, Neuralink has made great progress.

On July 16, 2019, in its first public release in San Francisco, Neuralink introduced a magic chip “N1” that allows patients to control smartphones or computers with their minds.

N1 is a 4 x 4 mm square chip with 1024 electrodes. Each electrode is 5 microns thick, which is 95 microns thinner than a human hair. Neuralink plans to implant 4 N1 chips into the cerebral cortex: 1 in the somatosensory cortex and 3 in the motor area.

The company has also designed a surgical robot that can inject wires and chips into the brain at a two-millimeter incision, which takes less than an hour. These chips can be connected to the battery behind the ear through an induction coil to power the system.

This is just the beginning.

One year later, Musk launchedGertrude’s little pig has a coin-sized computer chip in its brain. The signal of the brain area connected to the nose will be recorded and sent to the mobile phone via low-power Bluetooth technology.

Compared with the first generation, the design of the Neuralink device has changed, becoming a coin-shaped device, which is more imperceptible in appearance.

Moreover, the new version of the device is completely wireless, using inductive charging, reducing the risk of infection.

Comparison between two editions

From Gertrude the pig to Pager the monkey, Neuralink’s design has changed again, and no abnormalities can be seen from the outside.

More details are still to be announced.

Now, Neuralink is in contact with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and if all goes well, it will be done later this year Preliminary human trials.

However, there are still many doubts about the safety of Neuralink.

In addition, after inserting the electrode into the brain, the human body will produce rejection reaction, the signal quality of the brain will have a rapid attenuation. Although there are some new materials that can solve these problems to a certain extent, the materials cannot guarantee that the signal will always remain accurate.

Neuralink intrusive brain-computer interface

Neuralink also admits that there are many problems that need to be solved urgently.

For example, in order to optimize the compatibility of chip wires with surrounding tissues, they should have the same size scale as surrounding neurons, they must also resist corrosion by fluids in the tissue, and the electrodes must have sufficient surface area to allow stimulation.

As another example, since the nerve signals in the brain are very small, the chip must have a high-performance signal amplifier and digitizer. Moreover, with the increase in the number of electrodes, the information transformed by these original digital signals is too much to be uploaded through low-power equipment.

However, Musk always believes that Neuralink’s potential is almost limitless. It can not only bring well-being to some physically disabled people, but also bring the possibility of evolution to healthy people.

“Our idea is to understand and treat brain disorders, protect and strengthen your brain, and create a harmonious future.”

Uncontrolled and unregulated advanced artificial intelligence poses a great threat to human survival. Humans face the danger of being surpassed by artificial intelligence machines, but a closer, higher fidelity integration between humans and computers can Help reduce the risk of advanced artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence.

As he said on Twitter, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

This article is from the WeChat official account:Zhuo (ID: xingshu100) author: creating