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Friday, July 12, 2024

First Patient with Neuralink Brain Chip Shows Stability, Musk Hopes…

A firm executive stated on Wednesday that the tiny wires of Neuralink’s brain chip implant, which was used in the first subject of Elon Musk’s company’s trial run, had grown “more or less very stable”.

The business had stated in May that several microscopic wires inside Noland Arbaugh’s brain had come loose. Arbaugh is paralysed from the shoulders down as a result of a diving accident in 2016.

“Once you do the brain surgery it takes some time for the tissues to come in and anchor the threads in place, and once that happens, everything has been stable,” said Neuralink president Dongjin “D.J.” Seo at the time.

Arbaugh, an Arizona resident, is the sole patient who has received the implant thus far, but Musk stated he expects to have high single digits of participants this year.

Executives from the company stated during a live webcast on social media platform X that the company is now implementing risk mitigation strategies, such as moulding the patient’s skull and bringing their blood carbon dioxide content down to a normal level.

Matthew MacDougall, chief of neurosurgery at Neuralink, stated, “In upcoming implants, our plan is to sculpt the surface of the skull very intentionally to minimize the gap under the implant… that will put it closer to the brain and eliminate some of the tension on the threads.”

Neuralink is testing its implant to give paralysed patients the ability to use digital devices by thinking alone. The device works by using tiny wires, which are thinner than a human hair, to capture signals from the brain and translating those into actions such as moving a mouse cursor on a computer screen.

Musk said during the livestream that the device doesn’t harm the brain. The US Food and Drug Administration, in initially considering the device years ago, had raised safety concerns, but ultimately granted the company a green light last year to begin human trials.

So far, the device has allowed Arbaugh to play video games, browse the internet and move a cursor on his laptop by thinking alone, according to the company’s blog posts and videos.

Neuralink is also working on a new device that it believes will require half the number of electrodes to be implanted in the brain to make it more efficient and powerful, the executives said.

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Source: NDTV

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