Meet the Developer Behind the Neuralink Surgical Robot


As a developer, what security issues should you consider with a Neuralink device?

The main safety points were not so much on the device but on the robot. We had a small part to do, which was to change the concept of their first generation robot, which was exposed to metal – you could argue that it looked very scary – to something that was a little more accessible and ready for clinical trials.

We worked with the engineering team of Neuralink to try to create facias-covers or covers on the outside of the robot, to start giving a little bit of a visual language that was simple, accessible, and something that you can imagine that people don’t have. fear is. In doing this, we started to introduce a lot of design elements, and the safety was not so much for the patients, it was for the workers.

We thought about things like pinching. You don’t want people to break their hands while working. That’s Robotics 101. It’s something every robot designer should think about. This machine is very powerful, and when it wants to go to a certain place, it goes there, and if your finger gets between where it is and where it is going, it will be very dangerous.

How has the design of the robot changed over time?

Robot design was a very collaborative process. It is obviously a very complex robot, so our design team came to work with their mechanical engineers to understand how the operations are performed.

We started with the part of the robot that has the needle and is doing the actual placement of the neural fibers [which record brain activity], because it’s very difficult, and we worked backwards from there. We spent a lot of time creating a robot part that interacts with your head. We had to understand all the ways you could assemble it to cover the underlying system.

Then we moved to a full robotic body, and we were able to create a body with their internal electromechanical assembly. We were able to order the units to be manufactured, and then we worked with them to assemble them. From there, they will take and test the contents.

What excites you about developing neurotech devices?

I’m always inspired by people working in this area in terms of inventors, scientists, technologists, neuroscientists, and personally it’s great that this technology is opening up big intellectual questions about how the brain works and what it means. to be human. I think it’s great.

You have worked with other brain device companies. Are there other neurotech trends that interest you?

The field is focusing on the most vulnerable right now, which is encouraging. Immediate care is about how we can help people who need help the most, such as the disabled, and the problems that are being solved are very specific. I think seeing more work being done on these problems with AI, having AI solve more useful problems, is what I’m most excited about right now.


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