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Musk's Neuralink Weighed Removing Patient's Brain-Chip Implant: Report

Accepted submission by upstart at 2024-05-09 13:07:59

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Musk's Neuralink Weighed Removing Patient's Brain-Chip Implant: Report []:

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  • Some threads in Neuralink's first human brain implant pulled away, but the issue has been fixed.
  • Elon Musk's company considered removing the chip from the patient, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The Journal also reported that Neuralink wanted to install 10 more devices in humans this year.

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Neuralink []'s brain-chip implant is working — except that some of the device's threads pulled away from the first human patient's brain.

Elon Musk's company shared a progress update in a blog post [] on Wednesday and said a number of threads "retracted" from the patient's brain a few weeks after his surgery. That rendered the implant less effective.

The "Link" device lets the patient move a computer cursor using his thoughts. An earlier blog post [] said the process involved more than 1,000 electrodes in the device and at least 64 threads, each thinner than a strand of human hair.

This story is available exclusively to Business Insider subscribers.� Become an Insider [] and start reading now.Have an account? Log in.

Neuralink [] measures the speed and accuracy of the Link's cursor control using a metric called bits per second. The Wednesday blog post said a higher BPS score meant it had stronger cursor control.

The retraction of some of the threads caused the electrodes in the device to be less effective, Neuralink said. It said it had since made tweaks which in turn "produced a rapid and sustained improvement in BPS, that has now superseded Noland's initial performance."

Neuralink announced in a livestream [] on X in March that 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh, who was paralyzed below the shoulders after a diving accident in 2016, was the first person to receive its implant [] in January.

The Wall Street Journal [] reported that Neuralink considered removing the implant from the patient altogether, citing unnamed sources.

In February, Musk said on an X Spaces [] session that "progress is good []" and that "the patient seems to have made a full recovery."

On Thursday, he posted on X:

Successful 100 days with first human implant of @Neuralink [] []

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2024 []

The Journal reported that Neuralink planned to implant 10 devices in other human patients by the end of this year.

In a meeting at Neuralink, shared on X [] in March, Arbaugh said it took five months from applying to be in Neuralink's human trials to having brain surgery, which took less than two hours. Since it was implanted, he's used it to play video games, including "Mario Kart," post on social media, and play chess.

Neuralink didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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