Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Businessweek
Technology

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Says It’s Ready for Brain Surgery

The startup just unveiled its plan to implant paralyzed patients with electrodes that’ll let them work computers with their minds. First, it’ll have to move beyond mice.

Musk

Musk

Photographer: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
Updated on

Elon Musk has had a lot to show off over the past 25 years, including an early online bank, solar roof tiles, a tunnel-digging machine, an electric car, a reusable rocket, and even the occasional electric car riding a rocket. He may have just topped them all with the help of a tubby brown-and-white rat.

The rodent belongs to Neuralink, a company Musk founded to develop a data transmission system between people and computers. Neuralink has been supersecretive about the nature of its work since its founding in 2017, until now. During its first demonstration in front of a reporter, the startup showed it can record a rat’s brain activity via thousands of tiny electrodes surgically implanted alongside the animal’s neurons and synapses. To do this, Neuralink, based in San Francisco, appears to have achieved a number of breakthroughs that let it place high-speed computing systems inside a brain, while causing less damage than existing techniques.