Elon Musk Brain Chip: A Look at the Proposed Device

In Elon Musk's perspective, the gravest issues in the world are becoming unbelievably, amazingly simplistic. Is the Earth falling apart due to carbon emissions? 

Fix it with a series of hybrid cars, and let's get them to drive themselves while we're at it. Did you run into traffic in LA? Take a spin on the underground super-luge. 


Machines with artificial intelligence outstrip humanity — this way of thought is best demonstrated by Musk's startup, Neuralink.  With this, he aims to implant computer chips in human brains to enhance our capabilities. Read on to learn more.

Elon Musk Brain Chip: A Look at the Proposed Device
Image Source: Vox

The Aim of Elon Musk’s Brain Chip

Neuralink claims that one day, the brain chip will have medical uses, naming a whole range of conditions conceivably fixed by its chips. Depression, memory loss, epilepsy, and brain injury were all proposed as conditions aided by a generalized brain chip, such as the Link.

However, Musk wants Link to take humankind beyond contemporary medical treatments. The primary mission is to help establish a symbiotic human-computer relationship. He claims that devices, like the Neuralink, will allow humanity to catch pace with super-fast machines.


Neuralink's Latest Updates

On August 28, Musk and his team revealed Neuralink's updates with a demo showcasing pigs implanted with their brain chip system. Also, the entrepreneur and founder of Tesla unveiled the latest chip design and the full-scale surgical robot.

The Device

These chips are called Links, measuring 0.9 inches wide by 0.3 inches tall. They link to the brain through wires and provide a 12-hour battery life per charge. Afterwards, the user will need to recharge it wirelessly.

During the demo, a screen displayed the real-time neuron spikes firing in one pig's brain, while she sniffed around her pen during the test. It was an event meant to showcase how far Neuralink has come, making it's science goals a reality.



Musk clarified that the wearable system has been "dramatically simplified" by the company during the past year. The initial concept was a bean-shaped gadget that would sit behind the ear. 

"It was complex, and you still wouldn't look totally normal; you would have a thing behind your ear", Musk stated regarding the old design. "So we've simplified this to something that is about the size of a large coin, and it goes in your skull".

The latest prototype, known as version 0.9, measures at 23 millimeters by eight millimeters and has attached 1,024 electrode "threads" that are inserted into the brain. 

It aims to replace a coin-sized portion of the skull and rest flat so that it will be visually indistinguishable. It would be charged inductively, the same way a smartwatch or phone would be charged wirelessly.

The Surgical Robot

Elon Musk Brain Chip: A Look at the Proposed Device
Image source: TechCrunch

US design company, Woke Studios, has done the industrial design for the surgical robot, which is designed to insert the neural threads securely into the brain. 

Without general anesthesia, the robot could implant the Link in under an hour, with the patient leaving the hospital the same day. The robot was used to place the implant into a set of pigs that are used for testing the device.

Final Words

The complexity of these projects — especially those that are invasive, like Neuralink — is not just developing the device itself. It takes years of clinical trials to create a neural chip that can be used in humans. 

Last July, Neuralink received an FDA designation for a Breakthrough Device. The startup is now readying for it's first human implantation, pending necessary approvals, and additional safety tests.