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Neuralink大脑芯片背后的科学

The Science Behind Elon Musk’s Neuralink Brain Chip | WIRED

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain chip company,
近日 埃隆·马斯克的大脑芯片公司Neuralink
recently pushed back on claims
对前些年针对该公司
that it violated animal welfare laws a few years ago
在猴子身上试验时违反动物福利法的声讨
while testing on monkeys.
予以了反击
This year, the company plans to test on human subjects.
今年 该公司计划用人类进行试验
But when it does,
不过 如此一来
what would this major step mean for brain implant science?
这一重大举措 将对大脑植入科学有何意味呢?
Academics like me have conducted clinical trials
我们这些学者已经对大脑植入器件的人
in people with brain implants.
进行了临床试验
Dr. Paul Nuyujukian
Paul Nuyujukian博士
is a professor of bioengineering and neurosurgery.
是一位生物工程与神经外科教授
He directs the Brain Interfacing Laboratory at Stanford.
负责指导斯坦福大学 大脑连接实验室的工作
For about 20 years now,
大约二十年来
academic research brain implants, up until this point,
到现在为止 学术研究中的大脑植入物
more or less have almost exclusively been with wires.
多多少少 几乎都得带着线
The difference that the N1 has with Neuralink,
Neuralink开发的这款N1芯片却有所不同
it’s fully implantable, it is battery-powered,
它可完全植入 由电池供电
it is wireless.
它 是无线的
All of this is being done over Bluetooth protocol.
这一切都是通过蓝牙协议实现的
Let’s dive into the science behind Neuralink
让我们来探究Neuralink背后的科学
to understand how exactly human brain chips work.
了解人类大脑芯片到底是怎么工作的吧
和Paul Nuyujukian博士一起探究 人类大脑芯片如何工作
The science behind how these implants work
植入物背后的工作原理
is not that different from how you would go about trying to measure
其实与测定AA电池的供能
the energy from a AA battery.
没有太大不同
It’s the same principle that we’re doing with these brain implants.
我们在着手探究人类大脑芯片时 遵循的是同样的原则
This is called neuro electrophysiological recording.
我们称之为“神经电生理记录”
When you move your arm to the right,
当你把胳膊向右移动
certain sets of neurons are activated in a certain pattern.
一系列特定的神经元 会以一种特定的模式被激活
Listening in to that activity and that pattern,
你如果“窃听”了这种神经元的活动和模式
you can predict very quickly
就会很快预判出
which direction the arm is going to move.
胳膊接下来会往哪个方向移动
These are the neurons that are directly wired to your muscle.
这些神经元与你的肌肉直接相连
Unless that pathway from the brain to the spinal cord to the muscle is damaged,
除非大脑—脊髓—肌肉的神经通路遭到了破坏
the way it is in patients with paralysis.
瘫痪病人就是这样
That pathway is damaged, then the neuro signals,
如果通路遭到破坏 他们大脑发出的
their signals from their brain,
神经信号
aren’t gonna get down to move the muscles.
将无法向下传递 控制肌肉移动
But in many cases,
然而许多情况下
the signals are still present in the brain.
信号还在大脑里面
They’re just not getting out.
只是还没发出来
So, if you reach in and put something that listens in to those neurons,
因此 如果你探入其中 往大脑里装个东西 去“窃听”那些神经元
then you know what’s happening to the muscle.
那你就会知道肌肉下一步怎么活动
And that’s the goal of a brain implant.
这就是大脑植入物的目的所在
Now, let’s look at a timeline
现在 我们一起看看
of brain interface breakthroughs over the years.
这些年来 大脑连接领域实现突破的时间线
Scholars have long been interested in how the brain works.
学者们对大脑如何工作的兴趣由来已久
So, it’s important to view these new developments
因此 将Neuralink公司新的研究
at Neuralink as a culmination of breakthroughs
视作脑机接口研究者所创造的
by brain machine interface researchers,
众多突破中的巅峰之作 尤为重要
especially in the last few decades.
特别是在近几十年间
For example, in 2002, the first demonstration
例如 2002年 实时光标控制
of real-time cursor control in monkeys took place.
首次在猴子身上演示成功
2008, a monkey controlling a robotic arm
2008年 一只在三维空间内
in three dimensions fed itself.
控制机械臂的猴子 给自己拿东西吃
2012, the first brain-controlled robotic arm by a human.
2012年 首个由人类大脑操控的机械臂问世
2017, a human controlled a cursor mentally
2017年 一个人意念控制光标
to type out words and sentences.
打出词语和句子
Dr. Nuyujukian was part of the study,
Nuyujukian博士参与了这项工作
as well as the one in 2018,
也参与了2018年
where a human subject mentally controlled a tablet
人类受试者用意念控制平板电脑
to do things like browse the web, send emails,
进行网页浏览 发邮件
and play games or music.
打游戏 放歌等活动的项目
All that’s been done with a couple hundred electrodes.
这一切都是通过几百个电极办到的
But in 2019, Neuralink, a private company,
然而2019年 私人公司Neuralink
changed the game when it unveiled a pig named Gertrude
公开展示了一只 身上有监控着约一千个神经元的
with a wireless implant that monitored
无线植入物的猪猪——Gertrude
about a thousand neurons.
颠覆了整个行业
Neuralink的风险
The neurons are like wiring.
神经元就像线路一样
And you kind of need an electronic thing
要解决电相关的问题
to solve an electronic problem.
一般就需要用电子元件
That was a very interesting moment
这是个耐人寻味的时刻
because it signaled to the community
因为它在向公众示意:
that they’re serious, they’re investing,
Neuralink是认真的 他们有在投入
they’re building hardware from scratch,
他们从头开始搭建硬件
and they’re putting it in large animals.
还把硬件植入了大型动物中
For the pig, the electrodes were implanted in somatosensory cortex,
这只猪身上的电极 植入在体感皮层
allowing them to measure sensory activity,
以便研究人员监测其感官活动
like that of taking a step.
比如迈步的感觉
Every time that that particular neuron
每当被“窃听”的特定神经元
they were listening to fired,
放电的时候
you would hear this little pop or click
你会从音频通道 听到那种细微的
from the audio channel.
“砰”或“咔嗒”声
And so, the moment I heard it, right,
所以 当我听到这个声音
it’s like, oh yeah, they got neurons.
就会想说 “对 就是它”
You just recognize it instantly.
于是立刻识别出神经元
You know what neurons sound like
如果你数十年如一日
if you’ve been listening to them for decades.
“窃听”着它 便会知道那是什么样的声音
And that’s what they were communicating, right.
这就是它们交流的内容
They were telling the field,
它们是在向外界喊话:
“We’ve got neurons, pay attention.”
“请注意 我们连接到神经元了”
And overnight, it seemed the industry took notice.
一夜之间 整个业界都注意到了
Then in April of 2021,
后来 2021年4月
Neuralink released the so-called MindPong video.
Neuralink发布了一款叫做MindPong的电子游戏
Pager was the name.
这家伙叫Pager
It’s a rhesus macaque, which is the type of monkey
是只猕猴 猕猴是脑机接口领域
that is very commonly used in this field.
十分常见的实验动物
Implanted with two of the N1 devices, the Neuralink devices,
Pager被植入了两个Neuralink开发的N1装置
performing brain control of a cursor on a screen.
用于通过意念控制屏幕上的光标
That’s extremely significant because here,
这个意义非常重大 因为
Neuralink is showing their new hardware,
Neuralink正在向所有人展示 他们的新硬件
their new device in their hands works in a monkey.
他们手中的新装置 是可以在猴子身上工作的
That’s the level that’s necessary
你得达到这个水平
to convince the scientific community,
才能让科学学界
to convince the FDA,
和FDA相信
that you’re ready to go into human clinical trials.
你的设备 已经可以步入人类临床试验阶段了
That’s the evidence the FDA is looking for.
这才是FDA想要的证据
The recording power of the N1 device in Pager was eye-opening
Pager体内N1装置的记录能力令人叹为观止
because of the sheer number
因为其中植入的
of individual electrodes that had been implanted.
单个电极数量非常之多
There was definitely a lot of clever engineering
造这个装置 肯定得用上不少
that went into that,
巧妙的工程技术
to build a device that can transmit 2,048 electrodes-worth
毕竟它能够通过无线电 以数字“0”“1”的形式
of spiking information, right,
来传递
of digital ones and zeros of spikes, over a radio wirelessly.
多达2048个电极的尖峰信息
And when you have that many channels,
这么多的通道
the performance that you should be able to get
让N1得以获得十分优异的性能
should eclipse what we’ve been able to do
学术界的研究在这样的性能面前
in the academic field.
只能相形见绌
The maximum number of electrodes I’ve ever recorded from
我曾用于记录的电极数量
is 200 to 300.
最多可达两三百个
So, with all those electrodes,
那么 像N1这样
how does a device like the N1 get implanted
带了那么多电极的装置 是如何植入
in a subject’s brain?
受试者大脑的呢?
下个阶段:植入人体
Make no mistake, this is neurosurgery.
可不能犯错 这是神经外科
It is not a joke.
不是儿戏
This requires cutting the skin, getting down to skull,
植入过程中 得切开皮肤 到达头骨
drilling a hole in the skull.
在头骨上钻洞
Exposing what’s called the dura,
露出我们所说的“硬脑膜”
which is this protective layer of tissue
就是大脑周围的一层
that surrounds the brain.
保护组织
Cutting the dura, folding it back to expose the brain.
切开硬脑膜 掀起来 露出大脑
And then, you get to the surface of the brain,
然后就到大脑表层了
where you can implant the electrodes.
这里可以用来植入电极
The biggest risks with these types of techniques
这种技术的最大风险
are infection, bleeding, and tissue damage.
是感染 出血 和组织损伤
So, what would it take for the FDA to approve
那么 想要FDA批准人类临床试验
clinical trials in humans?
得满足什么条件呢?
The Neuralink device
Neuralink装置
are called Class III medical devices.
被称为“第三类医疗器械”
They are implantable,
它们是可植入的
and they’re going into very sensitive body cavities.
还会进入非常敏感的体腔内部
That is the highest level of scrutiny
“第三类”是FDA对医疗器械的规定中
that the FDA assigns to medical devices.
安全性要求最高的等级
They don’t have a predecessor.
Neuralink装置没有前身
There’s no previous example that’s approved.
没有被批准的先例
And so, very appropriately, they got a high bar
因此呢 它通过批准的门槛要更高些
they have to cross in order to get it approved.
这事儿也合情合理
So, what Neuralink has to do next
所以 Neuralink要做的下一件事
is prepare a very long and technical document
是备好一份长长的技术文件
with all of the evidence from animal studies
里面要写明 动物实验对该装置
that their device is safe and effective.
安全性和有效性的所有佐证
This document is submitted to the FDA,
这份文件得提交给FDA
who has 90 days to review and give them an answer.
FDA则会花上90天来给出答复
If the FDA says yes, then their clinical trial is approved,
如果FDA认可了 那么Neuralink的临床试验就被批准了
and Neuralink can enroll and recruit human participants.
团队便可以注册 并招募人类受试者
We are on the cusp of a complete paradigm shift.
我们即将带来颠覆性的变化
This type of technology has the potential to transform our treatments,
这种技术 有望转变我们的治疗方式
not just for stroke, and paralysis,
不只是针对中风 瘫痪
and degenerative disease, motor degenerative diseases,
退行性疾病 以及运动退行性疾病
but also for pretty much every other type of brain disease,
还有许许多多其它类型的大脑疾病
from Parkinson’s to epilepsy, to dementias, Alzheimer’s,
比如帕金森病 癫痫 痴呆 阿尔茨海默病
and even psychiatric disease.
甚至精神疾病的治疗方法
Seeing Neuralink and the other companies in this space
Neuralink和该领域其它公司
start an industry around neuroengineering
创造了围绕神经工程
brain machine interfaces, neuro prosthetics,
脑机接口 神经假体展开的产业体系
has been a tremendous amount of validation
这无疑是对在该领域耕耘数十载的
for neuroscientists and engineers
神经科学家和工程师们
who’ve been working in this space for decades.
巨大的肯定
How much happier could the scientific community be
还有什么 能比从零开始创造一个新的产业
than to give birth to an industry?
更让科学界振奋的事儿呢?
So, will this industry someday lead
那么 有朝一日 这个产业会不会
to the creation of cyborg humans with superhuman intelligence?
领先制造出具有超人类智慧的电子人呢?
There’s all sorts of wild speculation in our field.
我们这个领域有各种各样荒诞的构想
I think science fiction is wonderful
我觉得科幻小说在讲述
at telling very creative and captivating stories
包括脑机接口在内的 各种富有创意
about all sorts of things,
又引人入胜的故事时
including brain machine interfaces.
做得极好
The reality is we are in such early stages of this space,
事实上 我们在这个领域还是襁褓之初
right, where we are just barely able to record
我们仅仅是能够
from neurons that control muscles
记录控制肌肉的神经元
and try to interpret something,
设法破译出点什么
glean meaningful information out of that.
从中拾取有意义的信息
We’re gonna be in that space for decades.
我们会在这个领域持续求索数十年
That’s where I will focus much of my career,
我的职业生涯也会专注于此
is understanding what’s going on with these neurons,
去理解这些神经元身上发生的事情
and the circuits that they are working on.
以及它们所工作的神经回路
That’s where the last 15 years of my work has been.
这也是我过去十五年来所做的工作
And the coming several decades of my work
我将在未来数十年继续下去
will focus in on this space
专注这个领域
because that’s gonna be the forefront of neuroscience.
因为这会是神经科学的前沿
The rest, I think, is fun to think about,
我寻思 剩下的部分 想想还是挺有意思的
but I don’t see how that’s going to be
不过我也不知道 在可预见的未来
in the foreseeable future.
这个领域将走向何方
《连线杂志》

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视频概述

本视频简介了埃隆·马斯克的脑机接口公司Neuralink开发出的一款大脑芯片。对脑机接口感兴趣的朋友们可以看一看。

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翻译译者

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv_XB6Hf6gM

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