Elon Musk’s Neuralink implants brain chip in first human

Elon Musk announced that his human tech startup Neuralink has inserted a chip implant into the brain of its first human test subject. 

The billionaire said the person had the chip surgically implanted into their brain on Sunday and “is recovering well” 

“Initial results show promising neuron spike detection,” Musk wrote on X, the social media he owns. 

The US Food and Drug Administration last year greenlit human trials of the company’s brain chips after Neuralink performed hundreds of tests on pigs, sheep and monkeys — and was called out for animal abuse by animal rights groups in the process. 

“The last two years have been all about focus on building a human-ready product,” Neuralink co-founder DJ Seo told Bloomberg News in November. “It’s time to help an actual human being.”

Elon Musk announced that the first human has been implanted with a Neuralink brain-chip.

The brain chip — which has 1,000 electrodes — is meant to allow people to wirelessly perform computer functions by just thinking of what they’d like to do via a “think-and-click” mechanism. 

Last month the company said it was looking for quadriplegics under 40 years old to participate in the human trials. It also said a surgeon would remove part of the test patient’s skull before a 7-foot-tall robot named R1 would take over to implant 64 threads lined with electrodes into their brain. 

The Food and Drug Administration gave Elon Musk’s Neuralink clearance last year to conduct its first trial to test its implant on humans. AP
An image of an implant, above. Neuralink/AFP via Getty Images
Musk said the initial tests have shown “promising neuron spike detection.” Getty Images/iStockphoto

The electrodes are programmed to gather data about the brain, including neural activity attached to movement intention. These neural signals recorded by the electrodes would then be sent back to Neuralink computers for decoding. 

“The short-term goal of the company is to build a generalized brain interface and restore autonomy to those with debilitating neurological conditions and unmet medical needs,” Seo, who also holds the title of vice president for engineering, told Bloomberg. 

“Then, really, the long-term goal is to have this available for billions of people and unlock human potential and go beyond our biological capabilities.”

The aim of Neuralink’s trial is to evaluate the safety of the implant and surgical robot.

It’s unclear how many human participants will be a part of the technology trial — which will assess the safety of both the robot surgeon and the chip itself as well as its functionality. 

The trial will take about six years to complete. 

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