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Elon Musk Claims Neuralink Implanted Wireless Brain Chip in Human

Written by : Jayati Dubey

January 31, 2024

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Neuralink's implant, with 64 ultra-thin threads, aims to wirelessly record and transmit brain signals for decoding intended movements through an app.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk announced on X, formerly Twitter, that Neuralink, his brain-machine interface company, has implanted one of its wireless brain chips in a human.

The X post mentioned "promising" brain activity post-procedure, and the patient is reportedly "recovering well." The company aims to connect human brains to computers, addressing complex neurological conditions.

While Elon Musk's announcement has generated interest, experts highlight the need for cautious optimism, emphasising that long-term success can only be evaluated over time. Moreover, several companies, including Neuralink, are working on brain-machine interfaces.

Sharing thoughts, Anne Vanhoestenberghe, professor, King's College London, said, "For any company producing medical devices, the first test in humans is a significant milestone. For the brain-computer interface community, we must place this news in the context that whilst there are many companies working on exciting products, there are only a few other companies who have implanted their devices in humans, so Neuralink has joined a rather small group."

However, she also suggested a need to be cautious as "true success" could only be evaluated in the long term.

Other companies, such as the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, have made significant strides in brain-machine interfaces. EPFL enabled a paralysed man to walk using electronic implants on his brain and spine, communicating thoughts wirelessly to his legs and feet.

However, Elon Musk's announcement lacks independent verification, and Neuralink has not provided detailed information about the procedure. Critics have raised concerns about the company's past testing practices, including allegations of animal deaths during experiments.

The head of the US Department of Agriculture stated in July 2023 that no violations of animal research rules were found, but a separate investigation is ongoing.

In May 2023, the FDA permitted Neuralink to test its brain chip on humans, marking the beginning of a six-year study using a robot to surgically place flexible threads onto a brain region controlling movement intentions.

Neuralink Testing & Advancements

Neuralink's experimental implant, consisting of 64 flexible threads thinner than a human hair, aims to wirelessly record and transmit brain signals to an app, decoding the person's intended movements. A wireless rechargeable battery powers the technology.

The company emphasises the potential to aid individuals with neurological disorders in the future, highlighting the interface's experimental nature.

Professor Tara Spires-Jones, president, British Neuroscience Association, said, "It has great potential to help people with neurological disorders in future and is an excellent example of how fundamental neuroscience research is being harnessed for medical advances. However, most of these interfaces require invasive neurosurgery and are still in experimental stages; thus, it will likely be many years before they are commonly available."

Telepathy: Neuralink's First Product

Adding more to the details, Elon Musk revealed that Neuralink's first product would be called "Telepathy." He envisions Telepathy enabling control of devices like phones and computers through thought.

The initial users are expected to be those who have lost the use of their limbs. Musk envisions a future where individuals like Stephen Hawking, who had motor neurone disease, could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer using Telepathy.

While Elon Musk's involvement raises Neuralink's profile, several rival companies in the brain-machine interface space have a long track record.

Based in Utah, Blackrock Neurotech implanted its first brain-computer interface in 2004. Precision neuroscience, formed by a Neuralink cofounder, is working on a brain implant that simplifies the procedure. Existing brain-machine interface devices have generated positive results, enabling individuals to communicate by monitoring brain activity.

Future Outlook & Ethical Considerations

The announcement by Neuralink signals progress in brain-machine interfaces, with potential implications for medical advancements. However, experts caution that the widespread availability of such technologies may take many years.

Ethical concerns, including data privacy, cybersecurity, and potential job displacements, also need to be addressed as these technologies advance.

The convergence of technology and neuroscience holds the promise of transformative healthcare solutions, but careful evaluation and ethical frameworks are essential for responsible innovation in this evolving landscape.


About Chime India

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving senior digital health leaders. CHIME includes more than 5,000 members in 56 countries and two US territories and partners with over 150 healthcare IT businesses and professional services firms. CHIME enables its members and business partners to collaborate, exchange ideas, develop professionally and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care throughout the communities they serve. CHIME's members are chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs), and other senior healthcare leaders. The CHIME India Chapter became the first international chapter outside North America in 2016 and is now a community of over 70+ members in India. For more information, please visit www.chimecentral.org

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