Technological healthcare has just hit a new milestone as Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain chip startup, just announced a successful implantation on a human patient for the first time. According to Musk, the patient went through the procedure on Sunday and is in good health.
This advancement signifies far more than a testament to Neuralink’s ambition. It represents a significant stride in brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). The green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for human trials, granted last year, has paved the way for this achievement.
This audacious trial aims to empower individuals afflicted with paralysis to harness the power of their thoughts, seamlessly controlling digital interfaces such as computer cursors or keyboards.
The procedure involves placing a chip implant within a patient’s brain region that controls movement intention. This is done using a high-precision surgical robot. This implant boasts ultra-fine threads crafted to intercept neural signals, transmuting thoughts and intentions into tangible digital actions. Neuralink has aptly named its first product “Telepathy”, which sounds like something straight out of science fiction.
While the latest advancements in Neuralink’s technology have generated a wave of optimism, it remains crucial to acknowledge the intense scrutiny the company has endured. Questions have arisen concerning the safety measures implemented by Neuralink, particularly in the wake of a U.S. Department of Transportation fine imposed for the mishandling of hazardous materials.
In addition, a coalition of lawmakers has called upon the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to conduct a thorough investigation into potential misrepresentations made by Elon Musk concerning the safety of Neuralink’s technology, prompted by reports detailing adverse outcomes observed in animal trials.
That being said, it remains to be seen how effective the brain chip implant will be in the long term and how it will affect the patient.