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Friday, April 12 2024

Elon Musk: First Human Receives Neuralink Brain Chip, Recovery on Track

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According to co-founder Elon Musk, Neuralink, a neurotechnology company based in California, has successfully implanted a wireless brain chip in a human for the first time. Musk made the significant announcement on January 29 through a series of posts on X (formerly known as Twitter). Neuralink has been developing brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that can be implanted. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the company permission to conduct human trials in May of last year. The neurotechnology company started recruiting for human trials in September 2023.

“The first human received an implant from Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well,” Musk announced in a post. Early findings indicate that neuron spike detection is promising. In a separate statement, he disclosed that Telepathy was the name of the company’s original BCI product. According to the co-founder, the brain chip allows users to operate a computer or smartphone simply by thinking. Fascinatingly, the company uploaded a video to YouTube in 2021 showing a monkey with the chip implanted managing a game of ping-pong with his thoughts.

“Consider if Stephen Hawking was able to converse more quickly than an auctioneer or speed typist. That’s the aim,” he continued. The individuals who have lost the ability to use their limbs.

While Neuralink received its FDA approval to conduct human trials last year, it rejected an application to pursue the same in 2022. At the time, the regulatory body had cited major safety concerns involving “the device’s lithium battery; the potential for the implant’s tiny wires to migrate to other areas of the brain; and questions over whether and how the device can be removed without damaging brain tissue,” as per a report by Reuters.

During a 2019 presentation, Musk clarified that the majority of the components of Neuralink BCIs were polyimide with a thin platinum or gold conductor. A surgical robot carried out an automated procedure to implant these into the brain. The chip has a large number of incredibly thin nodules connected by wires known as probes. These probes’ ends have electrodes on them that can find and read electrical signals in the brain. After that, a device that can translate these signals into electronic commands to operate a device receives them wirelessly.

In the past, the company has conducted extensive tests on animals and has claimed a high success rate. While performing a successful brain chip implant is a major milestone, the success of the product will be determined by its long-term performance and lack of side effects.

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