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Neuralink’s Debut Brain Implant Patient Reveals Significant Life Impact

Neuralink

The first person to receive a Neuralink brain implant chip, Noland Arbaugh, recently discussed how the cutting-edge technology has altered his life. In a special interview with Will Reeve of “Good Morning America,” Mr. Arbaugh claimed that the gadget has allowed him to virtually fully control how he uses a computer by utilizing just his thoughts.

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”I can control a computer just like anyone else can, which is not something I was able to do beforehand,” Mr Arbaugh said.

He further said that participating in groundbreaking scientific research will help pave the way to improve the lives of paralysed people. ”I knew that if I did this then it would take a lot of headache and heartache away from the people down the road,” he added.

Though the surgery went smoothly in January 2024, there were recently some issues with the technology that nearly led to the company removing the device from his brain. Some data was lost because a number of the implant’s threads retracted. Mr Arbaugh said he got emotional, fearing he would lose the enhancements the device brought to his life.

“It was very, very hard to give up all of the amazing things that I was able to do. I think I had cried afterwards,” Mr Arbaugh added. However, Neuralink was able to able to make modifications to the technology and improve Arbaugh’s connection.

He is now hopeful there will be a day when spinal cord injuries will not be completely debilitating, saying, “I don’t think it’s as far away as people might think.”

“It’s going to be amazing when someone can have a spinal cord injury, go into a hospital, get surgery, and walk out a couple of days later. I think it’s gonna happen,” he added.

Notably, he sustained a spinal cord injury in a “freak diving accident” eight years ago. He was working as a summer camp counsellor for children when he got into an accident that left him quadriplegic in 2016.  In 2017, he successfully raised $10,000 via a GoFundMe campaign to purchase an accessible custom-built van.

What is Neuralink?

Elon Musk founded the brain technology startup Neuralink. Through its implant, a patient can operate a computer with just their thoughts. According to Mr. Musk, the company will initially serve patients with severe physical disabilities such as quadriplegia or impairment of the cervical spinal cord.

The goal is to enhance human potential, cure neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s or ALS, and perhaps eventually establish a mutually beneficial partnership between humans and artificial intelligence.

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