It is said that the human brain is the most complex biological structure if it ever existed. And while science still doesn’t fully understand the brain, researchers in the expanding field of neuroscience have done so I’m making progress.

Neurologists have made significant breakthroughs to mapping the complex functions of about 85 billion neurons in the brain and the 100 trillion connections between them. (To put this astronomical number into perspective, there are over 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy.)

Enter Neuralinka Silicon Valley startup backed by Elon Musk that developed a neuroprosthetic device known as a brain-computer interface. Among other things, Musk claims that this chip can cure tinnitus, a neurological condition that causes ringing in your ears, within five years. But is this possible?

What is Neuralink?

The Neuralink coin-sized device, called Link, is implanted aligned with the skull of a precision surgical robot. The robot connects thousands of tiny threads from the Connection to specific neurons. Each strand is a quarter of the diameter of a human hair.

The device connects to an external computer via Bluetooth for continuous forward and backward communication.

In the future, Neuralink prostheses can help people with various types of neurological diseases that have a break or malfunction between the brain and the nerves that serve the body. These include people with paraplegia, quadriplegia, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Since its inception in 2016, Neuralink has recruitment of first-class neurologists from academia and the wider research community to develop technology to treat these conditions.

The Neuralink monkey can play pong with his mind

In April 2021, the company released remarkable proof of concept video. He showed a nine-year-old macaque monkey named Pager, who successfully plays a Pong game with his mind, with a Neuralink device implanted connected to a computer running the game.