Neuralink’s team, in close collaboration with the FDA, has succeeded in unlocking up to 16,000 channels for communication between electrodes and neurons through a customized chip. This marks a major step forward in the field of brain-machine interfaces.
The first waveforms produced by next-generation stimulation ASIC on a benchtop demonstrate the custom chip’s ability to support 16k+ channels with sufficient voltage and current, providing fine control required to restore vision or reanimate the body.
Prior to this breakthrough, the highest number of communication channels achieved in the field of brain-machine interfaces was around 500 in 2014. In August 2020, Neuralink announced an increase to 1024 channels and predicted a breakthrough of an order of magnitude, which has now been achieved.
Neuralink’s ultimate goal is to implant 1 million communication channels, paving the way for revolutionary treatments for conditions such as blindness and epilepsy.
According to Elon Musk, treating tinnitus requires far fewer communication channels than 1,000, highlighting the potential for Neuralink’s technology to address a wide range of medical needs.
The company’s been working hand in hand with the FDA to make this new human study happen. Talk about some seriously meticulous work behind the scenes! In a tweet, Musk said “This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people.”
No doubt, this incremental progress is fueling hopes that one day, Neuralink’s brain-computer interfaces might reanimate limbs, restore eyesight, and more. Of course, human trials will be key to seeing how the tech fares and functions in reality. But with the pace of progress Neuralink has shown so far, the future is looking brighter and brainier by the day. Overall, an exciting time for science and a win for humanity!