Elon Musk’s neurotechnology company, Neuralink has successfully implanted its first N1 chip in a human brain for the first time, achieving a significant breakthrough for the company.
Making the announcement on his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) on late Monday, Musk said that the operation took place on Sunday and the patient was recovering well after the procedure.
The first human received an implant from @Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well.
Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 29, 2024
He added that initial results are showing promising neuron spike detection. He also clarified how the new technology will be able to help the patients in their day to day lives.
The first Neuralink product will be called ‘Telepathy’, which will firstly be used by people who have lost the use of their limbs. This will allow them to control their phones or computers, and through them almost any device, just by thinking.
“Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal,” he wrote.
Enables control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking.
Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs.
Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 30, 2024
For those unaware, Musk launched Neuralink in 2016 and has been seeking approval for human trials since 2019. However, only in May last year, the company received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implant brain chips into humans.
Further, in September, Nueralink received clearance to begin recruitment of patients with quadriplegia caused by cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for the first human trial of its wireless brain-computer interface (BCI).
Neuralink’s PRIME Study (short for Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface) aims to evaluate the safety and initial effectiveness of the N1 Implant (a BCI implant), the R1 Robot (a surgical robot), and N1 User App (BCI software) in enabling individuals with paralysis to control external devices with their thoughts.
“During the study, the R1 Robot will be used to surgically place the N1 Implant’s ultra-fine and flexible threads in a region of the brain that controls movement intention,” Neuralink wrote in a blog post about its first human trial in September.
“Once in place, the N1 Implant is cosmetically invisible and is intended to record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that decodes movement intention. The initial goal of our BCI is to grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.”
While the successful implantation of the N1 chip in the brain is just the beginning, the technology still needs years of development, as the procedure comes with its own share of risks.