Brain-chip startup Neuralink, founded by Elon Musk, has implanted its first brain-computer interface (BCI) in a human patient who is now recovering well, according to Musk’s announcement on social media. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted clearance last year for Neuralink to conduct its initial trial on humans, marking a significant step in the company’s mission to address paralysis and neurological conditions.
The study involves a robot surgically placing the BCI implant in the brain’s region controlling movement intention, aiming to enable participants to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone. Neuralink’s “ultra-fine” threads facilitate signal transmission in the brain.
Musk mentioned that the first product from Neuralink will be named “Telepathy.” The PRIME Study, the startup’s trial for its wireless brain-computer interface, assesses the safety of the implant and surgical robot. While Neuralink has not responded to Reuters’ request for additional details, the company has faced scrutiny regarding safety protocols.
Earlier this month, it was fined for violating U.S. Department of Transportation rules on hazardous material movement.
In November, lawmakers asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Musk misled investors about the technology’s safety after reports of issues in monkey implants, including paralysis and seizures. Musk clarified in September that “no monkey has died” due to a Neuralink implant, emphasizing the use of “terminal” monkeys to minimize risks to healthy ones.