with the Brain
Working towards improving the lives of people with a broad range of patients.
A Direct Link Between the Brain & Everyday Technology
The initial goal of our technology will be to help people with paralysis to regain independence through the control of computers and mobile devices. Our devices are designed to give people the ability to communicate more easily via text or speech synthesis, to follow their curiosity on the web, or to express their creativity through photography, art, or writing apps.
Reconnecting Thought to Action
The Future of
The Link is a starting point for a new kind of brain interface. As our technology develops, we will be able to increase the channels of communication with the brain, accessing more brain areas and new kinds of neural information. This technology has the potential to treat a wide range of neurological disorders, to restore sensory and movement function, and eventually to expand how we interact with each other, with the world, and with ourselves.
Processes visual information from our eyes.
Assists with the perception and interpretation of sound.
Helps process sense of touch.
Responsible for planning and executing motor movements.
- Visual Cortex
- Processes visual information from our eyes.
- Auditory Cortex
- Assists with the perception and interpretation of sound.
- Somatosensory cortex
- Helps process sense of touch.
- Motor Cortex
- Responsible for planning and executing motor movements.
- What will the Link do?
- We are designing the Link to connect to thousands of neurons in the brain. It will be able to record the activity of these neurons, process these signals in real time, and send that information to the Link. As a first application of this technology, we plan to help people with severe spinal cord injury by giving them the ability to control computers and mobile devices directly with their brains. We would start by recording neural activity in the brain’s movement areas. As users think about moving their arms or hands, we would decode those intentions, which would be sent over Bluetooth to the user’s computer. Users would initially learn to control a virtual mouse. Later, as users get more practice and our adaptive decoding algorithms continue to improve, we expect that users would be able to control multiple devices, including a keyboard or a game controller.
- Who will the Link help?
- We expect our first application to be computer control for people with spinal cord injury. There are many other potential future applications for the Link. These include restoring motor and sensory function and the treatment of neurological disorders.
- Will the Link be safe?
We have not yet begun clinical trials, and so we do not have safety data in humans. But safety has been at the core of the design process. In particular, the Link includes technical innovations for improving the safety of the surgical procedure compared to existing BMI devices or traditional neurosurgery. Here are a few examples.
There is always risk associated with general anesthesia, and that risk is reduced by shortening the time of the procedure. The Neurosurgical Robot is capable of efficient and reliable electrode insertion. Also, the robot is being designed to insert threads through a hole in the skull as small as 23 mm diameter. Combined with other advancements in robotic surgical tooling, this may allow us to eliminate general anesthesia and to implant the device under conscious sedation.
Inserting a device into the brain always carries some risk of bleeding. We are trying to reduce that risk by using micron-scale threads, inserted with a needle whose diameter is about the size of many neurons in the brain. Furthermore, because each thread is individually inserted, we are designing the Neurosurgical Robot to avoid damaging blood vessels at or near the surface of the brain.
- Will the Link or future systems be available to healthy people?
- Neuralink is currently focused on making medical devices. These devices have the potential to help people with a wide range of injuries and neurological disorders, and we hope to develop treatments for many of these conditions in the coming years. We expect that as our devices continue scale, and as we learn to communicate with more areas of the brain, we will discover new, non-medical applications for our BMIs. Neuralink's long-term vision is to create BMIs that are sufficiently safe and powerful that healthy individuals would want to have them.
- Is the Link compatible with MRI?
- We are designing the Link with the goal that a user would be able to get an MRI in a scanner with at least 1.5T magnet or smaller, which includes most clinical facilities.
- How will you address device security?
- We understand that medical devices need to be secure, and it takes serious engineering to prevent unwanted access to such devices. Security will be built into every layer of the product, using strong cryptography, defensive engineering, and extensive security auditing.