Elon Musk’s technology company, Neuralink, recently announced they have secured $205 million in funding from several large venture capitalists and investment firms.
A blog post on the company’s website stated in part, “Neuralink Corp is pleased to announce… Our Series C funding round of $205 million, led by Vy Capital, with participation from Google Ventures, DFJ Growth, Valor Equity Partners, Craft Ventures, Founders Fund, and Gigafund.” The announcement also states “the company’s mission is to develop brain-machine interfaces that treat various brain related ailments, with the eventual goal of creating a whole brain interface capable of more closely connecting biological and artificial intelligence.”
Capital from this round of funding will be used to bring the company’s first product, the N1 Link, to market. The Link is meant to be implanted into the brain to help people with quadriplegia gain access to the digital realm without using their hands. While the Link will initially be used for medical purposes, the company says they hope to develop “non-medical applications” and make the Link “sufficiently safe and powerful that healthy individuals would want to have them.” Neuralink was founded in 2016 by Elon Musk. According to Crunchbase, the company has raised $363 million from a total of 13 investors.
In August 2020, Neuralink demonstrated its technology on pigs. The audience at the event was shown neural signals from a pig in real-time. In February of this year, they conducted a demonstration on monkeys, in which a monkey was wired to play a video game with its brain.
Musk, most known for founding Tesla and SpaceX, explained the N1 Link as a “Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires that go into your brain.” He said he believes AI will only get more intelligent and that Neuralink would give humans the chance to “go along for the ride.”
He went on to say humans are already “cyborgs” due to an exterior “digital layer” of cell phones, computers, and applications. Musk also said Neuralink could eventually allow humans to communicate using telepathy and exist in a “saved state” after death.
The components of the Link are so small they can not be inserted into the brain by the human hand. The company is working on a robotic system that neurosurgeons will employ to precisely place the threads where they need to be. The Neuralink app will allow users to control their mobile devices with brain activity alone.
Blackrock Neurotech and scientists at the University of Melbourne are also reportedly working on brain-computer interfaces.
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