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Neuralink UPSC NOTE

 


What is Neuralink?

  • Neuralink Corporation is an American neurotechnology company.

  • Founders: Elon Musk, Max Hodak

  • Founded in 2016.

  • Since its founding Neuralink has had the ambitious mission to build a next-generation brain implant with at least 100-times more brain connections than devices currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  • Neuralink is making a Class III medical device known as a brain-computer interface (BCI).

  • The device connects the brain to an external computer via a Bluetooth signal, enabling continuous communication back and forth.

  • The device itself is a coin-sized unit called a Link.

  • It’s implanted within a small disk-shaped cutout in the skull using a precision surgical robot.

  • The robot splices a thousand tiny threads from the Link to certain neurons in the brain. 

  • Each thread is about a quarter the diameter of a human hair.

Potential benefits of BCI

  • The company says the device could enable precise control of prosthetic limbs, giving amputees natural motor skills.

  • It could revolutionise treatment for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and spinal cord injuries.

  • It also shows some promise for potential treatment of obesity, autism, depression, schizophrenia and tinnitus.

  • BCIs have also been used to help older people train their motor and cognitive abilities to moderate the worst effects of ageing.

  • Several other neurotechnology companies and researchers have already developed BCI technologies that have helped people with limited mobility regain movement and complete daily tasks.

FDA’s concerns

  • Safe surgery - A precision robot known as Implant/r1 performs the surgical procedure to implant the Neuralink BCI. 

    • It must ensure no damaging surrounding brain tissue, or creating the risk of infection, bleeding, inflammation or scarring.

  • Repeated testing and data collection over an extended period.

  • Harmful side effects - It must not unintentionally influence other brain functions, or cause any unwanted side effects such as seizures, headaches, mood changes, or cognitive impairment.

  • Safe power supply — In particular, overheating lithium-ion batteries can pose great risk to BCI users. They can even explode if the insulation breaks down, resulting in a short circuit.

    • The longevity of the battery.

  • Wire migration — Then there is the risk of wire migration.

    • Connecting these wires by means of a surgical robot is a major challenge in itself.

    • There is also the possibility the electrodes could move elsewhere in the brain over time due to natural movement, inflammation, or scar tissue formation.

    • Could cause infection or damage to the brain tissue.

  • Implant removal - need for safe implant removal.

  • Data privacy and security — Strong safeguards are required to prevent data collected by the Link from being hacked, manipulated or otherwise misused.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Neuralink UPSC NOTE
Neuralink UPSC NOTE
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