May 28, 2022

Tequila, robot, brain implant… these other crazy projects of Elon Musk

Posted Apr 26, 2022, 2:31 PMUpdated on Apr 26, 2022, 5:46 PM

Elon Musk is a seasoned businessman. His fortune, estimated at no less than 265 billion dollars (246.5 billion euros), and his rank as the richest person on the planet bear witness to this. This did not prevent him from embarking on projects that some would call “crazy.” »

In addition to Tesla and its electric cars which have revolutionized the automotive industry, SpaceX and its reusable rockets which have shaken up the space world, the billionaire of South African origin who has just offered himself Twitter, for 44 billion dollars, has also founded a tunnel boring machine with its Boring Company supposed to unclog urban transport. Key to everything, Elon Musk is still working on other futuristic projects. Small non-exhaustive inventory.

Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot

For a long time now, Elon Musk has been betting on artificial intelligence, convinced that men will have to learn to live with this technology. His latest project falls fully into these considerations: Tesla Bot is a metallic humanoid robot, capable of performing repetitive and dangerous tasks. It will be designed using the same technology as the manufacturer’s semi-autonomous vehicles.

This robot will measure 1.73 meters for 56.7 kg, will have five fingers on the hands as well as a black and white androgynous silhouette. Above all, he should be able to carry 20 kg, see lift a load of up to 68 kg at arm’s length.

Tesla Bot will have a screen on its head and will be “friendly”, the businessman promised on Tesla’s Artificial Intelligence Day. For the time being, only synthetic images have been presented, but a first prototype should see the light of day this year, assured the billionaire during his presentation in August 2021.

The Neuralink brain implant

Connecting our brain to a computer. This is the goal of Neuralink, a start-up co-founded by Elon Musk in 2016 and whose work was presented at a conference in 2019. Its technology is a “brain-machine interface”, that is- that is to say “a system allowing the brain to be directly connected to a machine, so that it can interpret cerebral activity in real time and translate it into commands or useful information”, then explained to “Echos” Jérémie Mattout, researcher at Inserm, at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center.

When the company was launched, Elon Musk dreamed of allowing the birth of cyborg men, whose cognitive abilities would be increased thanks to the addition of a layer of artificial intelligence on the cortex. Concretely, the applications will be less Hollywood than medical.

Neuralink’s device could help people with paralysis, who might use a robotic arm, or people with certain brain injuries, such as those who have had a stroke. Postponed because of the Covid, the first human trials, to allow people with disabilities to use a computer, could begin this year, if Neuralink obtains authorization from the American health authority.

The “Not a Flamethrower”

Back in 2018. In order to draw attention to his Boring Company, a tunnel construction company created two years earlier, Elon Musk has a most original marketing idea. The billionaire decides to put on sale… flamethrowers. No less than 20,000 units are manufactured and stamped with the name of the tunnel boring machine.

Sold for $500 each, they sold out in no time among the whimsical businessman’s fan community around the world. They allow him to bring in no less than 10 million dollars into the coffers of the Boring Company in no time.

What Elon Musk did not anticipate is that this could pose a problem for the authorities of some countries. Police in some states, including a few in the “United States”, believe that this flamethrower is more akin to a weapon of war than a do-it-yourself object, as reported by “Tech Crunch” in 2021. In order to avoid any legal problems, the Boring Company hastened to rename its product “Not a Flamethrower”, or “Not a flamethrower”.

“Teslaquilla”, the tequila signed Tesla

Also in 2018, a failed April Fool’s joke prompted Tesla to make bottles of Tequila that sold for…$250. On April 2 of that year, the day after Hoax Day, Elon Musk posted a series of tweets in the form of bogus press releases stating that Tesla had gone bankrupt. He ends with a photo of himself, slumped against one of his electric cars, indicating that he was found unconscious, surrounded by bottles of “Teslaquilla”, a then imaginary brand of tequila.

If the joke did not make investors laugh (Tesla stock lost 8% on the stock market that day), the idea of ​​a bottle of the famous Mexican alcohol in the colors of the car manufacturer delighted Internet users.

Two years later, the idea made its way into the mind of Elon Musk and 75 cl bottles in the shape of lightning are put on sale on his website, in limited edition and available only in certain American states. . To avoid the wrath of the Mexican authorities – the tequila designation being protected – the firm opted for an original name, the “Teslaquilla”.

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