• | 1:38 pm

Elon Musk’s Neuralink implants brain chip in human

The implant potentially offers hope to those with neurological disabilities and pushes the boundaries of human-machine interaction

Elon Musk’s Neuralink implants brain chip in human
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s tech startup, has announced its first successful human brain-chip implant in a development that offers hope for people with neurological disabilities while also pushing the boundaries of human-machine interaction.

The implanted chip, dubbed ‘Telepathy,’ reads and transmits brain signals wirelessly, allowing the patient, initially someone with paralysis, to control devices with their thoughts.

“Initial results show promising neuron spike detection,” Musk said, highlighting the successful communication between the chip and the patient’s brain.

This is the Tesla chief’s first venture into brain-computer interface (BCI) technology.

“It enables control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking,” said Musk. “Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs.”

The brain chip, the company said, will open up a world of possibilities for individuals struggling with lost motor function, offering independence and a chance to regain control.

Musk, in his announcement, referred to late English scientist Stephen Hawking, who suffered from a motor neurone disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

“Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal,” said Musk on X (formerly Twitter).

Founded by Musk in 2016, the neurotech startup seeks to build brain-computer interfaces for enhanced abilities, treating neurological disorders such as ALS and Parkinson’s, and perhaps, ultimately, help out with the forging of a healthy human-AI symbiosis.

Blackrock Neurotech, founded in the US in 2008, and Synchron, which was set up in 2012, had successfully implanted BCI devices earlier.

Synchron had implanted its BCI device in 2022 and did not require an invasive procedure, unlike Musk’s Neuralink.

Blackrock Neurotech had earlier said that it had safely implanted its device in patients, who can eat and send emails by thinking.

In 2022, Musk had approached Synchron for an investment deal, reportedly frustrated by Neuralink’s slow progress and uncertainty around getting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human trials.

Neuralink was last valued at $3.5 billion in a funding round in November, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing data provider Pitchbook.

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