Gertrude the pig rooted around a straw-filled pen. She gave no notice to the cameras and onlookers. She also ignored the 1,024 electrodes eavesdropping on her brain. Each time Gertrude’s snout found a treat in a researcher’s hand, a musical jingle sounded. It signaled activity in nerve cells that control her snout.

Those beeps were part of a big August 28, 2020 reveal of the nerve-watching tech by Neuralink. It’s a company based in San Francisco, Calif. “In a lot of ways, it’s kind of like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.” Or that’s how Elon Musk described his company’s new technology that day.

Whenever Gertrude’s snout touched something, nerve cells in her brain fired electrical signals. Those signals were detected by an implanted device (signals shown as wavy lines on black). Similar technology may one day help people with paralysis or brain disorders.Neuralink

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