Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Neuralink
Elon Musk's Neuralink brain chips may be capable of curing a common hearing condition.
The Tesla and SpaceX chief is probably at the peak of his personal apex mountain right now: he's at the forefront of modern space exploration; he's behind the most recognisable electric car firm in the industry; and he's the richest person on the planet.
You know what they say: the world is not enough. Musk unveiled Neuralink in 2016, a startup developing a wireless chip that, in theory, could allow humans to control a computer of sorts with their mind, earlier described as a ‘Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires’.
Check out a monkey managing to play Pong with Neuralink below:
It unveiled its first working prototype in a pig named Gertrude, and later released footage of a monkey playing Pong with its brain. Musk earlier said he wants to start human trials in 2022, but it's unclear when they're set to take place.
The chip may also be capable of letting users stream music directly into their brain, but its true uses are less gimmicky. Musk believes it has the potential to help people with Parkinson’s, brain injuries and other conditions.
For example, during a recent interview with TED's Chris Anderson, Musk said Neuralink would be helping to treat brain and spinal injuries 'for nearly a decade', as well as addressing morbid obesity and other health conditions.
In response to this, a Twitter user asked Musk if there was any hope of curing tinnitus, a condition that affects around 15 to 20 percent of people, with experts believing it'll affect in one in three people in years to come.
Elon: Neuralink will definitely cure tinnitus. Future devices will include 10,000-100,000+ electrodes https://t.co/jnIife7GT6— Neura Pod (Neuralink Updates) (@NeuraPod) April 24, 2022
Musk replied: "Definitely. Might be less than 5 years away, as current version Neuralinks are semi-generalised neural read/write devices with ~1000 electrodes and tinnitus probably needs <<1000.
"Future gen Neuralinks will increase electrode count by many orders of magnitude."
That may seem like a lot of gobbledegook, but it's actually rather simple: later, more powerful models of Neuralink will hopefully be capable of curing tinnitus.
For those who are unaware, tinnitus cause people to hear a ringing or buzzing that comes from inside your ears, rather than from an outside source. While it may improve on its own and there are things people can do to help, there's no cure.
Musk was also previously asked if Neuralink could be used to ‘retrain the part of the brain which is responsible for causing addiction or depression’.
He replied: "For sure. This is both great and terrifying. Everything we’ve ever sensed or thought has been electrical signals.
"The early universe was just a soup of quarks and leptons. How did a very small piece of the universe start to think of itself as sentient?"
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]