First human gets brain implant 'to control phone or computer just by thinking' from Elon Musk's Neuralink

30 January 2024, 07:09

Elon Musk's Neuralink company has cleared a major hurdle
Elon Musk's Neuralink company has cleared a major hurdle. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Kit Heren

The first person has received a brain implant from Elon Musk's company Neuralink that could eventually allow users to control electronic devices just by thinking.

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Billionaire entrepreneur Mr Musk said he hoped the 'Telepathy' product would eventually "enable control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking".

He said that the product was initially being aimed disabled people, who would be able to "communicate faster than an auctioneer" if all went to plan.

Mr Musk added: "Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs. Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist... That is the goal."

He told his Twitter followers that "the first human received an implant from [Neuralink] yesterday and is recovering well.

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Elon Musk
Elon Musk. Picture: Getty

"Initial results show promising neuron spike detection," the billionaire said.

Neurons are the cells that send electrical and chemical signals around the brain and to the rest of the body. Spikes show neuron activity.

US authorities gave Neuralink permission to test the Telepathy chip on human subjects last year - a key stepping stone in its development.

The company hopes to help patients with paralysis and other debilitating neurological conditions.

Neuralink said it got approval for recruitment for the human trial in September.

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The company uses a robot to implant the device in the part of the user's brain that controls the desire to move. "Ultra-fine" threads help to send signals in the brain.

Its initial aim is to help people move a computer cursor or mouse just by thinking.

The company has come under fire amid safety concerns, after being fined for breaking rules about moving dangerous materials.

Investors were also worried by allegations of animal cruelty after the medical records of monkeys used in tests showed paralysis, seizures and brain swelling.

Mr Musk said that no monkeys had died during the tests, and the company had chosen terminally ill subjects to avoid harming any healthy ones.

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