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Elon Musk: Neuralink patient moves mouse by thinking

  • Neuralink implant enables thought control
  • Musk optimistic, safety concerns raised
  • Trials progress, Musk hopeful

The initial human recipient of a Neuralink brain implant appears to have fully recovered and can now manipulate a computer mouse with their thoughts, according to Elon Musk, the founder of the company.

“We are aware of neural effects, but progress is positive, and the patient appears to have made a full recovery,” Musk said during a Spaces event on X (formerly known as Twitter).

“The patient can navigate the screen with a mouse simply by thinking.”

Musk stated that Neuralink is currently attempting to elicit from the patient as many mouse button presses as possible.

Following the patient’s successful implantation of the ‘Telepathy’ device last month, Neuralink obtained authorisation for human trial recruitment in September.

However, the identity of the initial Neuralink patient remains unknown.

Neuralink’s technology implants a brain-computer interface in a region of the brain that regulates the intention to move using a robotic system.

A computer chip is affixed to minuscule flexible strands that are sewn into the brain by a robot resembling a sewing machine.

After the robot has connected the thread-like electrodes to specific regions of the brain, extracted a small portion of the cranium, and sutured the incision, the only visible remnant is a scar.

According to Musk, this operation will be completed in a mere thirty minutes, will not necessitate general anaesthesia, and patients will be able to resume their daily routines.

Musk described the initial recipient of the implant as “recovering well,” but it is unknown whether or not these assurances apply to that individual.

In contrast, experts expressed grave safety concerns after Musk announced that the initial human had undergone Neuralink implantation.

Honorary research associate at Cardiff University Dr Dean Burnett described the initiation of human trials as “disconcerting and alarming.”

He stated, “It is disconcerting and alarming how quickly [Musk] has gone from having no involvement in neurosurgical implants to making massive global statements.”

“The problem is that he has a vast army of supporters who may volunteer for this sort of thing, which I believe is quite risky regarding inserting objects into people’s bodies.”

Although Dr Burnett affirms that the initial patient is expected to be secure, he further states, “The greater risk is that others will approve of this work and then implement it, since not every procedure will receive the same level of attention.”

He further stated, “I personally would not undergo the procedure [receive an implant], and I would make every effort to dissuade the individual who volunteered for it.”

Musk has stated that the initial objective of Neuralink is to enable people to communicate wirelessly with the world and control a computer keyboard or cursor with their thoughts, similar to “replacing a piece of the skull with a smartwatch.”

According to the firm, this would allow individuals to express their thoughts, fears, aspirations, and anxieties without resorting to demeaning language, whether in writing or verbally.

However, it could also restore mobility to the paralysed and cure other neurological disorders.

Musk stated in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that the Telepathy device “enables thought-based control of your phone, computer, and virtually any other device.”

“Initial users will be individuals who have lost the use of their limbs,” he continued.

Consider what it would be like if Stephen Hawking had the ability to type or auctioneer at an auction house. Such is the objective.’

Musk’s Confidence in Neuralink’s Future

In response to a question, Musk has also stated that he would feel at ease implanting a brain chip into one of his offspring.

“From my perspective, we have reached a juncture where the situation is no longer perilous,” he stated in December 2022.

Neuralink’s PRIME research involves the implantation of ‘Telepathy’ in a human subject. The purpose of this trial is to assess the safety of both the implant and the surgical robot performing the procedure.

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Elon Musk expresses high hopes for Neuralink, asserting that it will enable expedited surgical insertions of his chip devices used in the treatment of obesity, schizophrenia, autism, depression, and depression.

Nevertheless, Neuralink, a company estimated to be worth around $5 billion a year ago, has been subject to numerous demands for examination concerning its animal experimentation and safety protocols.

The organisation has devoted the last few years to animal trials of the implant, with mixed results.

Musk first introduced the Neuralink processor to the general public in 2020 during a presentation that featured a demonstration using a pig named Gertrude.

Gertrude’s implant detected and displayed in real-time the neural signals emanating from her head as she manipulated her stylus.

The pig that participated in the demonstration had undergone a procedure to remove an implant and was presently leading a “healthy life.”

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