Elon Musk has demonstrated how a chip and electrodes can be embedded into a pig’s brain to read activity.

The device has been developed by Musk’s startup Neuralink, and has 1 024 channels per link.

Musk explains that the device is invisible once embedded. It’s 23mm x 8mm in size and is inerted flush with skull.

Features include 6-axis IMU, temperature and pressure measurement, megabit wireless data rate, post compression; and all day battery life.

“All the things you would expect to see in a smart watch or phone,” he says.

The device is inductively charged, so it can be used all day, and charged at night.

The device is installed by a robot. “You need the device and great robot to put it in,” Musk says. “You want it as automated as possible. We expect that the procedure would take less than an hour, without anasthaesia.

“The robot opens a piece of skull, removes it, inserts the electrodes and closes up the skull.”

A robot to perform the surgery has been developed, and has been used to implant devices into pig’s brains.

Musk demonstrated a pig with a device linked implanted. The electrodes measure the sensory neurons and display what the pig is smelling.

Another pig has had an implant, which has been removed, demonstrating that the operation is reversible with no ill effects.

Musk showed other applications for the technology, showing how a device can be used to predict the position of a pig’s limbs while using a treadmill.

The devices can also be used to write information into the brain, with each electrode able to influence millions of neurons, Musk says.

He explains that the goal of the Neuralink project is to important brain and spine problems with a seamlessly-implanted device.

“Almost everyone over time will develop brain or spine problems, ranging from minor to very severe. These range from memory loss to brain damage,” Musk says.

“All senses are electrical signals sent by neurons to your brain. If you could correct these signals you could solve these problems.”

Musk envisions that device eventually being able to help people with severe spinal cord injuries to walk again.

The Neuralink architecture has been dramatically simplified over the last year, from a device worn behind the ear to one the size of a large coin, inserted flush with the skull.

“It is like a fitbit in your skull, with tiny wires,” Musk says.

The video of Musk’s presentation is here.