Elon Musk’s Neuralink Conducts First Human Implant
NEURALINK, a company founded by Elon Musk in 2017 to implant electrodes into people’s brains has completed its first human implant.
Musk announced this on recently via his x handle. According to him, the first Neuralink product is called Telepathy.
Musk said the Neuralink implant would enable people to control their phones or computers, and through them almost any device, just by thinking.
“The first human received an implant from @Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well. Initial results show promising neuron spike detection,” Musk announced via a post on X.
“Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs. Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal,” Musk added
Neuralink builds on decades of technology aimed at implanting electrodes in human brains to interpret signals and treat conditions such as paralysis, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. One early device is known as the Utah array, which was first demonstrated in a human in 2004. Many competitors have entered the field, including Synchron and Precision Neuroscience.
The Neuralink device contains more than 1,000 electrodes, far more than other implants. It targets individual neurons, while many other devices in development target signals from groups of neurons. If it works, this should enable a higher degree of precision.
The implant puts the chip and other electronics inside the user’s skull, with wireless communications sending out brain signal data to a Neuralink app, which decodes them into actions and intents. Charging is also done wirelessly. Neuralink has developed a bespoke surgical robot to perform the implant procedure.
Neuralink wants to help paralyzed people, to begin with. Eventually, Musk says his device could help people with hearing and vision loss. The billionaire has said he hopes one day the implant could allow for futuristic goals such as helping humans merge with artificial intelligence.
The US Food and Drug Administration gave Neuralink approval for clinical trials on humans in May last year, following a series of implant trials on various animals.
The company was heavily criticized for its surgical work in animals, particularly primates, by groups such as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which said Neuralink botched many of those surgeries.