Elon Musk’s Neuralink backed by Google Ventures, Peter Thiel, Sam Altman

Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface company Neuralink has raised $ 205 million from investors including Google Ventures, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

The Series C round, announced in a blog post Thursday, was led by Dubai-based Vy Capital.

It comes two years after Neuralink raised $ 51 million. Total investment in the company is now $ 363 million, according to startup tracker Crunchbase.

Founded in 2016, Neuralink is trying to develop high-bandwidth brain implants that can communicate with phones and computers.

The company targets its first devices at quadriplegics, who cannot interact with many of today’s devices, and is working to conduct human trials.

“The first indication this device is designed for is to help quadriplegics regain their digital freedom by allowing users to interact with their computers or phones in a high bandwidth and naturalistic way,” he wrote.

So far, the technology has been tested on pigs and a monkey that was able to play the video game Pong with its mind.

The company said its first product, known as the N1 Link, will be “completely invisible” once implanted and will transmit data over a wireless connection.

“Funds from the round will be used to bring Neuralink’s first product to market and accelerate research and development of future products,” said Neuralink.

Several other companies are also developing brain-computer interfaces, including Blackrock Neurotech, which has been endorsed by Thiel and his friend Christian Angermayer.

Elsewhere, scientists at the University of Melbourne have already had some success with brain-computer interfaces.

A study conducted at the university in October showed two humans controlling a computer through thought using a stentrode (a small array of electrodes mounted on a stent) developed by Australian biotech firm Synchron without having to shave and pierce the skull.

Stentrode’s brain-computer interface allowed two people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a rare neurological disease, to write, text, email, bank online, and shop online through thought.

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