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Elon Musk on Friday unveiled a coin-sized prototype of a brain implant developed by his startup Neuralink to enable people who are paralyzed to operate smartphones and robotic limbs with their thoughts — and said the company had worked to “dramatically simplify” the device since presenting an earlier version last summer.

In an event live-streamed on YouTube to more than 150,000 viewers at one point, the company staged a demonstration in which it trotted out a pig named Gertrude that was said to have had the company’s device implanted in its head two months ago; the live stream showed what Musk claimed to be Gertrude’s real-time brain activity as it sniffed around a pen. At no point, though, did he provide evidence that the signals — rendered in beeps and bright blue wave patterns on screen — were, in fact, emanating from the pig’s brain.


Elon Musk pig
A pig presented at a Neuralink demonstration was said to have one of the company’s brain implants in its head. YouTube screenshot

“This is obviously sounding increasingly like a Black Mirror episode,” Musk said at one point during the event as he responded affirmatively to a question about whether the company’s implant could eventually be used to save and replay memories. “The future’s going to be weird.”

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