Elon Musk’s Neuralink Achieves Historic Breakthrough with First-Ever Human Brain Implant

Elon Musk, the visionary founder of Neuralink, declared a groundbreaking achievement on Monday as the company successfully completed the first-ever human brain chip implant. The recipient, who underwent the procedure on Sunday, is said to be recovering positively.

Neuralink founder Elon Musk
Neuralink founder Elon Musk. Getty

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Revolutionary Implant and Its Purpose

Neuralink’s pioneering implant, dubbed the “Link,” is a compact device, approximately the size of five stacked coins. Surgically placed within the human brain, the Link aims to interpret brain signals with the potential to address conditions like paralysis, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.

FDA Clearance

Having received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year, Neuralink initiated its first human trial as part of the Prime study. This trial focuses on the safety assessment of the wireless brain-computer interface, encompassing both the implant and the surgical robot.

Interface Functionality

The study’s primary objective is to evaluate the functionality of the interface, enabling individuals with quadriplegia to control devices using their thoughts alone. The initial aim is to empower people to manipulate a computer cursor or keyboard solely through their cognitive signals.

Surgical Advancements

Throughout the study, a specially designed robot from Neuralink will delicately insert the ultra-fine threads of the implant into participants’ brains, facilitating the transmission of signals. Elon Musk shared that the preliminary findings indicate promising neuron spike detection.

Neuralink envisions its inaugural product, named Telepathy, catering to individuals who have lost limb functionality. Elon Musk expressed the aspirational goal of enabling communication at a pace surpassing even that of a skilled typist or auctioneer, drawing inspiration from the late Stephen Hawking.

Scrutiny Amid Achievements

Despite the remarkable strides, Neuralink has encountered scrutiny. A February 2023 inspection by the Department of Transportation (DoT) at the company’s facilities in Texas and California revealed failures to register as a transporter of hazardous materials. Issues like improper packaging of hazardous waste, including the flammable liquid Xylene, were also identified during the inspection.

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