According to Elon Musk, Neuralink has successfully implanted its inaugural brain chip in a human individual.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, who founded the neurotechnology company Neuralink, recently announced that the initial recipient of the brain-chip implant from his startup is doing well in their recovery.
The FDA granted the company approval in September to conduct the initial human trial of its implant, so the surgery was expected.
On Monday, Musk stated in a post on X that the initial findings of the implanted chip demonstrated successful detection of neuron spikes.
According to the National Institute of Health, spikes refer to the activity of neurons, which are cells that utilize electrical and chemical signals to transmit information within the brain and to the rest of the body. Musk did not disclose any additional information.
During a series of tweets, the businessman, while also discussing video games and engaging with far-right influencers, revealed that the initial product from Neuralink will be named Telepathy.
“It allows for control of electronic devices, such as phones and computers, using only one’s thoughts. The initial users will be individuals with limited mobility. Consider the potential if Stephen Hawking could communicate at a faster pace than a professional typist or auctioneer. That is the ultimate aim.”
Musk has a lengthy track record of making ambitious commitments, although his success rate in following through has been inconsistent. In 2016, he inaccurately forecasted that it would be feasible for a Tesla to autonomously travel from New York to Los Angeles within two years. He also declared in the same year that his company, SpaceX, would launch a mission to Mars by 2018, which has yet to happen.
In 2017, Musk proposed that Neuralink’s initial product would be available for purchase within approximately four years. However, the announcement on Tuesday was deemed a noteworthy accomplishment towards this objective by Anne Vanhoestenberghe, a professor specializing in active implantable medical devices at King’s College London.
“It is important to consider the significance of this news within the brain-computer interface community. While there are numerous companies developing innovative products, only a handful have successfully implanted their devices in humans. Therefore, Neuralink has joined a select group of companies in this field,” stated the speaker.
It is anticipated that Neuralink will allow the participant sufficient time to recuperate before initiating training with their system. Given Elon Musk’s proficiency in garnering attention for his company, it is likely that announcements will be made once testing begins. However, true success should ultimately be measured in the long run by the stability of the interface over time and the benefits it provides for the participant.
The company’s website states that their startup, Prime, is conducting a trial of their wireless brain-computer interface. The purpose of the trial is to assess the safety of the implant and surgical robot. The researchers will also evaluate the functionality of the interface, which allows individuals with quadriplegia to control devices using their thoughts. No immediate response was received from Neuralink and Musk when asked for more information.
Musk responded to a cryptocurrency influencer on platform X, who had quoted him as stating that the company would aid in restoring eyesight. He added that Neuralink was also developing another product called Blindsight.
According to Reuters, Neuralink received a penalty this month for breaking regulations set by the US Department of Transportation (DoT) concerning the transportation of dangerous substances.
In February 2023, while inspecting the company’s facilities in Texas and California, DoT investigators discovered that the company had not properly registered as a hazardous material transporter, according to agency records.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they discovered inadequate packaging of dangerous materials, such as Xylene, a combustible liquid that may result in headaches, dizziness, disorientation, difficulty with muscle control, and even death.
Last year, Neuralink obtained approval from the FDA to conduct its initial human trial of the company’s implant, a significant achievement for the startup. According to a report by Reuters in June, the company’s value was estimated to be as high as $5 billion, based on private stock transactions.
In September, Neuralink revealed their plans for an implant trial. According to the company, a robot created by them will surgically insert the “ultra-fine” threads that facilitate signal transmission into the brains of participants during the study.