Here’s my guess: Neuralink will unveil a vision implant at today’s “show and tell”

As far as we know, Neuralink’s implant is not yet being tested in humans, although monkeys can be taught to brain-type, too. In 2016, Shenoy showed that monkeys could use their motor cortex brain signals to move a cursor and transcribe text from the New York Times and Hamlet.

Despite that, we still think today’s demo will involve a vision implant. But how will the monkey “tell” what it sees? The monkey could type the answer with its fingers, or even use a second brain implant to type with its thoughts.

Another reason to believe it’s a vision system is that Musk has claimed brain implants can cure a huge range of diseases. And showing a possible technique for treating blindness is one that the multibillionaire has hinted at himself.

During an interview with podcaster Joe Rogan, Musk claimed that a Neuralink device “could fix almost anything that is wrong with the brain. So it could be something that … returns your eyesight, even if you have lost your optic nerve.”

“Really?” Rogan asked. “Yeah, yeah, absolutely,” Musk replied.

To treat a neuropsychiatric disorder, like depression, it’s probably necessary to put electrodes deep in the brain. But the visual cortex is conveniently located right at the back of the brain, near the skull, where it’s easy to get at.

Neuralink’s implant could make a good vision prosthetic. Its electrodes go inside the brain, near neurons, to they don’t use much electricity, making it safer. Their system of thin wires could also reach more locations, which means more phosphenes, and possibly a higher-resolution “display.”

In studies carried out at the University of Utah years ago, researchers covered students’ eyes with a screen into which holes had been poked. They found with about 700 holes, they could still navigate obstacle courses and even read books.

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