Neuralink’s first in-human brain implant had issues, Elon Musk's company says - Hindustan Times
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Neuralink’s first in-human brain implant had issues, Elon Musk's company says

May 09, 2024 07:44 AM IST

Neuralink said it compensated for that retraction through a series of software fixes.

Elon Musk’s brain technology company Neuralink Corp. said that the device it implanted in its first human patient has had mechanical issues. Sharing the update in a blog post, the company wrote that in the weeks after the January surgery on patient Noland Arbaugh, some of the electrode-studded threads that sit in the brain tissue began to retract from that tissue. Owing to this, the device did not work properly, the company added.

Neuralink logo and Elon Musk photo are seen in this illustration.(Reuters)
Neuralink logo and Elon Musk photo are seen in this illustration.(Reuters)

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What Neuralink did about the malfunction? Has it been fixed?

Neuralink said it compensated for that retraction through a series of software fixes. Using them, they “produced a rapid and sustained improvement that has now superseded Noland’s initial performance", the company said.

What Neuralink is working on now?

The company said that it’s currently working on improving text entry for the device as well as cursor control. The company aims to extend the same to the use of physical world devices such as robotic arms and wheelchairs.

What experts said on Neuralink's malfunction update?

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Eric Leuthardt, a neurosurgeon at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, told Bloomberg, “One thing engineers and scientists fail to appreciate is how much the brain moves within the intracrainial space. Just nodding your head or abruptly moving it can lead to perturbations of several millimeters.”

Matt Angle, chief executive officer of rival brain-implant company Paradromics Inc said that having threads that retract “is not normal for a brain implant."

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Is Neuralink planning more brain implants?

Yes, Neuralink is seeking to implant its device in more human subjects. Although, malfunctions could cause delays in the Food and Drug Administration approval process.

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