Elon Musk’s Neuralink company has made headlines by successfully implementing its wireless brain chip in a human for the first time, marking a significant milestone in the pursuit of brain-computer interface technology.
The initial results are promising, with detected neuron spikes indicating nerve impulses, and the patient is reportedly recovering well. Neuralink’s ultimate goal is to establish a connection between human brains and computers, with a focus on addressing complex neurological conditions.
The company received approval from the FDA in May to conduct human trials, a crucial step after earlier challenges in obtaining regulatory clearance. In the ongoing six-year study, a robot surgically places 64 flexible threads, thinner than a human hair, onto a specific area of the brain associated with movement intention.
These threads facilitate the experimental implant, powered by a wireless-charging battery, to record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app. This app then decodes the user’s intended movements, potentially allowing control over devices just by thinking.
Have a look at Neuralink’s Clinical Trial: The PRIME Study
Elon Musk, also the founder of Neuralink, posted on X (formerly Twitter) that Neuralink’s first product, called Telepathy, aims to enable control of devices through thought, with initial users being those who have lost limb functionality. He envisions telepathy enhancing communication speed for individuals like Stephen Hawking, who had motor neuron disease.
While Neuralink’s breakthrough garners attention, it faces competition from rival companies with long-standing track records in brain-computer interface technology. Blackrock Neurotech and Precision Neuroscience are among the competitors working on similar solutions for paralysis and communication enhancement.
Existing devices in the field have also shown promising results, with recent studies demonstrating the ability to decode brain activity related to speech, offering hope for improved communication for individuals with speech impairments.
Elon Musk’s involvement in Neuralink underscores the growing interest and investment in brain-computer interface technology. As the field advances, it holds the potential to revolutionize healthcare and human-computer interaction, offering new possibilities for individuals with neurological conditions.