Tesla founder Elon Musk announced this week that his company Neuralink has implanted its brain-computer interface into a human for the first time.
The recipient was said to be ‘recovering well’ after the implantation, Musk wrote on his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) on Monday evening, adding that initial results showed ‘promising neuron spike detection’—a reference to brain cells’ electrical activity.
What is the Neuralink implant?
Each wireless Neuralink device contains a chip and electrode arrays of more than 1,000 superthin, flexible conductors that a surgical robot threads into the cerebral cortex.
Electrodes are designed to register thoughts related to motion.
According to the company’s vision, an app will eventually translate these signals to move a cursor or produce text, meaning our thoughts will be able to drive our devices.
‘Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal,’ Musk wrote of the first Neuralink product, which he said is named ‘Telepathy.’
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved human clinical trials for Neuralink in May 2023.
The company announced it was opening enrollment in its first study to people with quadriplegia, back in September 2023.
The announcement did not take neuroscientists by surprise, as Musk, the world’s richest man, has followed through on many of his big-ticket projects.
Neuralink’s original ambitions, which Musk outlined when he founded the company in 2016, included meshing human brains with artificial intelligence.
Neural keyboards and other devices that people with paralysis already use to operate computers seem to be the nascent technology that Musk wants to build on.
At the moment, there’s very little information available about the person who received the implant or their medical condition nor how the trials were conducted.
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