Neuralink's First Human Test Subject Encounters Chip Implant Issue
Neuralink’s First Human Test Subject Encounters Chip Implant Issue

Elon Musk’s brain chip Neuralink’s First Human Test Subject Encounters Chip Implant Issue. The first test subject for Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain chip implant startup, encountered an issue just a few weeks after the implantation. The incident raised concerns about the functionality and safety of the chip implant technology.

Neuralink’s Milestone Human Test Subject Faces Startling Chip Implant Setback

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In a blog post, the company revealed that some of the chip’s connecting threads retracted from the subject, Noland Arbaugh’s brain, affecting the implant’s data speeds and effectiveness. The company provided limited details about the incident, including how the threads became detached. However, it stated that measures were taken to enhance the implant’s sensitivity, further boosting its performance.

Arbaugh, Neuralink’s inaugural human patient, has been a quadriplegic since a diving accident in 2016. He received the chip in January as part of the PRIME Study, an abbreviation for Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface trial.

The purpose of the trial is to assess the safety of the implant and surgical robot and to evaluate the functionality of the device, according to a 2023 blog post by the company on recruiting trial participants.

During the trial, patients undergo surgery to have chips placed in the brain region responsible for movement intentions. Subsequently, the chip, implanted by a robot, records and transmits brain signals to an app. The primary objective is to enable individuals to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts exclusively, as previously explained by Neuralink.

Approximately a month post-surgery, Musk announced that Arbaugh could control a computer mouse with his brain following the chip implant.

Neuralink ultimately aims to utilize implants to link human brains to computers, aiding paralyzed individuals in controlling smartphones or computers and assisting blind individuals in regaining vision. Like current brain-machine interfaces, the company’s implant would gather electrical signals emitted by the brain and interpret them as actions.

Musk previously mentioned that the company’s inaugural product would be called Telepathy, with initial users being individuals who have lost limb functionality.

Widespread access to the technology for consumers is not anticipated in the near future. Before Neuralink’s brain implants can enter the broader market, they must receive broader regulatory approval.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story, Neuralink has already secured Food and Drug Administration clearance for trials and has notified the agency about this recent issue.

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