5 updates on Elon Musk's surgical robot


Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is developing the Neuralink surgical robot that will be used for neuroscience. 

Here are five updates on the Neuralink surgical robot: 

1. Mr. Musk hired neurosurgeon Matthew MacDougall, MD, in July 2019 to develop the Neuralink robot. 

2. In August 2020, Mr. Musk debuted the robot during a presentation on Neuralink. The robot will have three main parts: the head, the body and the base. The head portion is helmet-like. It stabilizes a patient's head during surgery and features embedded cameras and sensors that map a patient's brain and ensures proper needle placement.

3. The short-term aim of Neuralink is to help with muscle issues affecting the brain, but the long-term aim is to augment the human brain to keep up with artificial intelligence. Mr. Musk views AI as the greatest potential threat to humanity.

4. In February, Neuralink was tested on a monkey, according to a CNBC report. Mr. Musk said the company implanted a computer chip into the monkey's skull and used small wires to connect the chip to his brain. The monkey was then allowed to play video games. Mr. Musk said Neuralink is attempting to see if it can get the chip-augmented monkeys to play "mind Pong" with each other. 

5. On Feb. 1, Mr. Musk said Neuralink would begin human trials by the end of the year, according to an Insider article. Mr. Musk had previously said in 2019 that the company would begin testing its Neuralink at the end of 2020. In response to a person asking to join into a human trial, Mr. Musk tweeted, "Neuralink is working super hard to ensure implant safety & is in close communication with the FDA. If things go well, we might be able to do initial human trials later this year."

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