Neuralink, the brainchild of Elon Musk, has successfully completed its first human brain implant as sanctioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Elon Musk took to his X account to share the news, stating, “The first human received an implant from Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well. Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.” This revelation comes amid a series of controversies surrounding Neuralink, including accusations of fraud and a recent fine imposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Neuralink has been under intense scrutiny since December 2022, following an investigation into the deaths of over 1,500 animals. The situation escalated in September 2023 when a group of doctors accused the company of causing the death of twelve monkeys. These incidents led to allegations of fraud against Elon Musk by four congress members.
Despite these challenges, public interest in Neuralink’s technology remains high. According to Bloomberg, thousands have applied to receive the Neuralink chip. The company, which began registering volunteers in September, plans to conduct 11 surgeries on human patients in 2024, with a long-term goal of surpassing 22,204 operations by 2030.
In a subsequent announcement, Musk revealed that Neuralink’s first product, named Telepathy, is geared towards individuals who have lost the use of their limbs. Telepathy, a less ambitious but nonetheless significant device, enables users to control external devices like mobile phones or computers through thought. Musk highlighted the potential of this technology to enhance communication for people with mobility impairments, citing the example of Stephen Hawking.
The initial phase of human trials will focus on individuals with conditions such as quadriplegia, paraplegia, vision or hearing loss, speech impairments, or major amputations. The Neuralink chips, which can be wirelessly recharged, are designed to read and analyze brain activity, transmitting this data to computers or mobile devices.