Neuralink and the unnecessary suffering of animals

Prelims level : Science & Technology Mains level : GS-III Science & Technology - Awareness in the fields of it, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology, Pharma Sector & Health Science
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Why in News?

  • Elon Musk’s medical company, Neuralink, has been accused of causing needless suffering and death to around 1,500 animals in just short few years. Sources indicate that animal testing is proceeding too swiftly, which results in unnecessary suffering and death for the animals.

Neuralink company and its objective?

  • The 2016-founded company Neuralink is developing a brain implant that will allow paralyzed people to walk again and cure other neurological conditions.

What Is Neuralink?

  • A device to be inserted in brain: Neuralink is a gadget that will be surgically inserted into the brain using robotics. In this procedure, a chipset called the link is implanted in the skull.
  • Insulated wires connected to electrodes: It has a number of insulated wires connected from the electrodes that are used in the process.
  • Can be operated by smartphones: This device can then be used to operate smartphones and computers without having to touch it.

The science behind the human brain

  • Neurons of the Brain: The brain consists of neurons that transmit signals to cells in the body including muscle, nerve, gland and other neuron cells.
  • Functions of each part of the brain: Every neuron is made up of three parts called the dendrite, the soma (cell body) and the axon. Each of this part has its own function. The dendrite receives the signals. The soma processes these signals. The axon then transmits the signals to the other cells.
  • Neurotansmitters: The neurons are connected to one another by the synapses which release neurotransmitters. These chemical substances are then sent to another neuron cell’s dendrite causing the flow of current across the neurons.

How Does Neuralink Work?

  • Electrodes can read electric signals: The electrodes that are part of the Neuralink will read electrical signals that are produced by several neurons in the brain. The signals are then outputted in form of an action or movement.
  • Implanted directly in the brain: According to the company’s website, the device is implanted directly in the brain because placing it outside the head will not detect the signals produced by the brain accurately

What Does Neuralink Do?

  • To operate encephalopathy: Neuralink can be used to operate encephalopathy.
  • People with paralysis can be operated: It can also be used as a connection between the human brain and technology. This means that people with paralysis can easily operate their phones and computer directly with their brain.
  • It will help people to communicate: Its main purpose is to help people to communicate through text or voice messages.
  • Wide applications: Neuralink can also be utilised to draw pictures, take photographs and do other activities.appliactions
  • Though the Neuralink innovation pushing the boundaries of neural engineering, cruelty over the animals cannot be ignored.
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