The name for this potentially revolutionary product is certainly not accidental: Telephatythe first chip produced by Elon Musk’s company called Neuralink and implanted in brain of a man in Italian means telepathy, also called thought transmission, with which only hypothetically one can communicate with the mind. And yes, because the device allows humans to “talk” to a computer or smartphone via brain signals that are “translated” into words.
How Telephaty works
The chip that is implanted in the human brain was created to give the opportunity to communicate to patients with serious brain and tetrapelgic pathologies who have lost the use of their limbs as the tycoon explained on his blog X account. The mini implant is made up of 1024 electrodes which are distributed in 64 ultra-fine threads and flexible. But what is the mechanism? The device is equipped with a particular technology capable of translating brain signals into words and writing them on PCs and mobile phones: it is made up of a capsule and a battery. “Advanced, customized, low-power chips and electronics process neural signals, transmitting them wirelessly to the Neuralink application, which decodes the data stream into actions and intent,” explain the Neuralink experts.
To implant the chip in the brain, the intervention of the human hand is not required but only of a specially designed robot capable of inserting the 64 ultra-thin wires “reliably and efficiently exactly where they need to be implanted.” At this point, thanks to an interface, the patient is able to communicate via the screen with the power of thought alone and his loved ones, or whoever is assisting the patient, will be able to start a sort of conversation but also simply the things he needs , how you feel, etc.
The first @Neuralink product is called Telepathy
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 29, 2024
“You have to be careful”
“It is never easy to comment on scientific news that has not been published in a sector magazine with all the relevant information and details. The announcement of brain implantation on a human being is interesting, but the enthusiasm it has aroused is currently poorly motivated“: this is one of the first comments from the professor today in Italy Paolo Maria Rossini, Director of the Department of Neuroscience and Neurorehabilitation of the IRCCS San Raffaele in Rome on the news of the implantation of the first wireless chip in a human brain created by Elon Musk’s Neuralink company. The word caution is a must because numerous attempts made previously have been realized “with a similar approach from a theoretical point of view with implants of microelectrodes on platelets surgically inserted on the motor, visual and acoustic areas in various types of patients and then because for now we only know that the patient is recovering well from the operation and that the contacts between microelectrodes and neurons are functional“, underlines the neurologist.
The next few weeks will really tell us if Telephaty works and how: if on the one hand it can open up the possibility for completely paralyzed people to open up to the outside world again, we will need to verify “how many times the command sent by the patient is interpreted correctly by the device and is therefore carried out effectively and how many errors and to what extent (also in terms of risk) it makes”, Rossini underlines. It will therefore be necessary to understand the possible interference with other equipment which today is the default in domestic environments but also potential risks for the patient’s health if “the presence of microelectrodes inserted into the cortex (cerebral, ed.) induces irritation of the neurons penetrated by the electrodes with a relative increase in the risk of epilepsy“.