Neurotech 2024 is exciting (ultrasound implants)

Maximilian Rehn
2 min readJun 25, 2024


Thanks in part to Elon Musk, the field of brain-computer interfaces has captured both public and investor interest, with a cadre of companies now developing implantable devices.

Now combine this with the AI transformers revolution and things start to get exciting. Transformers have been around since 2017 but the breakthrough we see today with LLMs really came with scale and quality data.

This is what we’ve been missing in neurotech — quality data to train AI models on.

  1. We do not have a huge quantity of data. It is very difficult to collect data with our existing techniques.
  2. We don’t have a huge diversity and quality of data most of these are controlled in lab settings and you know or in an MRI scanner or dark room moving a cursor on a screen — very simple paradigms.

Thankfully, a new development in ultrasound implants looks very promising. These less invasive ultrasound implants seem to be a good balance of safety and depth of brain understanding. They are epidural, meaning within the skull but outside of the brain. Personally, I was never a fan of putting wires in the brain so this is more feasible.

These ultrasound-based implants allow us to image function based on bloodflow throughout the entire brain with a resolution of 200 μm (the width of two human hairs). Moreover, the same technology can also be used to stimulate specific regions anywhere within the brain.

These implants are the first I’ve seen that feasibly can measure the brain of humans as we go about our daily lives. This means collecting quality data to train models on.

On the left wide ultrasound waves are used to image the brain and understand activity (read). On the right the same implants are used to focus ultrasound to stimulate specific area of the brain (write).

That allows you to move beyond simple applications in the motorsystem like paralysis. Instead we can look into and understand complex cognitive functions (that affect much more people) like depression, anxiety and OCD.

Furthermore, once you can start to tune the mood states associated with depression or the compulsive states associated with OCD there’s no reason that you can’t expand that to less impaired people and eventually non-impaired.

Meaning things like improved memory, improved focus, sleep on demand, treat jet lag, tunable moods etc. are on the horizon.

Thanks for reading.

Source: Forest Neurotech CEO, Sumner L Norman presentation June 2024:



Maximilian Rehn

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