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After Issues with 1st, FDA Now Approves 2nd Neuralink Implant

Written by : Jayati Dubey

May 21, 2024

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Source: X

To remedy the complications of the initial implant, the company plans to embed some of the device's wires deeper into the brain.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Elon Musk's Neuralink approval to implant its brain chip in a second patient. This decision follows the company's efforts to address problems encountered with the first recipient, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Earlier, the initial implant faced complications, with tiny wires inside the patient's brain shifting out of place, a problem Neuralink has reportedly been aware of for years.

To remedy this, the company plans to embed some of the device's wires deeper into the brain, according to sources familiar with Neuralink and documents reviewed by the WSJ.

First Recipient’s Experience

Noland Arbaugh, 30, is the first human to receive the Neuralink brain implant, which is called "The Link."

Disabled from the shoulders down due to a spinal cord injury, Arbaugh shared his experience with ABC News, highlighting the technology's transformative impact on his life. He expressed concerns about potentially losing the benefits the device has brought him.

Arbaugh, who became the first participant in Neuralink's clinical trial in January, eight years after his accident, revealed that the device allowed him to control a computer almost entirely with his thoughts.

"I can control a computer just like anyone else can, which is not something I was able to do beforehand," he stated.

Despite the risks, Arbaugh was not apprehensive about joining the initial phase of the clinical trial.

He saw his participation as a way to help advance scientific research and improve the lives of others with similar disabilities. "I knew that if I did this then it would take a lot of headache and heartache away from the people down the road," he said.

Following the procedure, Arbaugh showed significant progress. However, the company almost removed the device due to technical issues, as some of the threads had come loose.

Reportedly, the patient faced performance issues, but Neuralink responded by modifying the device and its algorithms.

In another interview, Neuralink's cofounder Seo elaborated on the efforts to resolve the issues. "We rolled up our sleeves and found various different ways for Nolan to be able to recover his performance. Ever since then, he's been able to actually do better than what he's been able to do before this," Seo said.

Understanding "The Link" Device

The Link device, approximately the size of a coin, is implanted beneath the skull. It features 64 tiny wires, or threads, and is equipped with over 1,000 electrodes designed to read neuron activity in the brain.

This technology enables the device to connect with computers or smartphones, allowing users to control these devices with their thoughts.

Neuralink was founded in 2016 by Elon Musk and a team of scientists and engineers. The company's mission is to create a generalized brain interface to restore autonomy to those with unmet medical needs.


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