Elon Musk Tweets Neuralink Implanted in First Human Patient

Elon Musk, co-founder of Neuralink, said the the first human has received an implant from the brain-chip startup.

The billionaire and X/Twitter owner made the announcement on his social media platform Monday evening. “The first human received an implant from @Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well,” he tweeted, adding, “Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.”

After years of delays, Neuralink announced in May last year that it had the FDA approved the launch of their “first-in-human clinical study.” The company had developed a brain-computer interface (BCI) that gets implanted into the skull by a surgical robot and uses electrodes to process the electrical activity of neurons — transmitting these signals to another device, such as a computer. Motor impairment and spinal cord injuries have been the focus of the start-up’s early explorations, as this technology can allow for paralyzed individuals to move limbs or prosthetics and write text messages with thoughts alone.   

In September last year, Neuralink said it was recruiting patients with quadriplegia due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for the trial, which it called the “PRIME” study. “The initial goal of our BCI is to grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone,” stated the company in a blog post.

Musk, who has invested $100 million of his own money into the venture, has made broad claims about the capabilities of his company’s implant. Apart from declaring that it “will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using their thumbs,” and “paraplegics to walk again,” he’s speculated it could eventually treat blindness, schizophrenia, depression, autism, obesity, and insomnia, and one day meld human consciousness with AI. 

The medical device company was hit with a federal investigation for potentially abusing animals in its attempt to develop its implant for humans, according to a 2022 report from Reuters. Reports emerged in February that year that more than a dozen primates died or were euthanized as a result of Neuralink’s research. According to sources and records reviewed by the outlet, the total number of animals killed in the course of the startup’s research since 2018 was likely around 1,500, including around 280 pigs, sheep, and primates. While animal testing remains a standard practice in the medical field, sources with knowledge of Neuralink’s internal workings told Reuters that the co-founder’s pressure to accelerate development had led to botched experiments and increased the number of animal deaths beyond the necessary amount.


Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the startup was fined for violating US Department of Transportation (DoT) rules regarding the movement of hazardous materials.

Neuralink was valued at about $5 billion last June, based on private stock trades. In November, four lawmakers asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Musk had committed securities fraud by allegedly misleading investors about the company’s technology’s safety after veterinary records indicated that monkeys used in the experiments suffered from health issues including with the implants including paralysis, seizures, and brain swelling.

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