Elon Musk announced that Neuralink, his startup focused on brain-chip technology, has successfully implanted its first brain chip in a human. The billionaire founder shared on Monday that the individual who received the implant on Sunday is recovering well. Neuralink aims to study the functionality of the interface, asserting that it enables individuals with paralysis to control devices using their thoughts. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted clearance to the company last year to conduct its initial trial for testing the brain-chip implant on humans. Musk noted, “Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.”
Spikes refer to the activity generated by neurons, which are cells described by the National Institute of Health as utilizing electrical and chemical signals to transmit information within the brain and throughout the body.
Neuralink’s Prime study serves as a trial for its wireless brain-computer interface, focusing on evaluating the safety of both the implant and the surgical robot. This study aims to assess the functionality of the interface, allowing individuals with quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs) to control devices through their thoughts, as outlined on the company’s website.
As of now, Neuralink has not provided additional details in response to a request for more information.
Earlier this month, Reuters disclosed that Neuralink incurred fines for breaching US Department of Transportation (DoT) regulations related to the transportation of hazardous materials. In February 2023, inspections conducted at Neuralink’s facilities in Texas and California revealed that the company had neglected to register as a transporter of hazardous materials, as per records from the DoT.
Furthermore, investigators identified improper packaging of hazardous waste, including the flammable liquid Xylene. Xylene, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can lead to symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, confusion, loss of muscle coordination, and, in extreme cases, death.
Last year, Neuralink secured FDA clearance for its inaugural trial to assess the implant in humans, marking a crucial milestone for the startup. In June, Reuters reported that the company’s valuation reached as high as $5 billion, determined through private stock transactions.