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The backstory: Neuralink, a company under the umbrella of Tesla CEO Elon Musk's ventures, was founded in 2016. Musk, known for his roles at X and SpaceX, launched Neuralink with the ambitious goal of bridging the gap between human brains and computers using implanted chips. One of the main goals is to help people with traumatic injuries use computers with their thoughts.
In 2019, Musk talked about putting his brain device into humans. But doubts were swirling about Neuralink's progress as other companies like Synchron were moving faster to implant devices in human brains. Synchron had the first brain-computer interface implant on a patient in the US in 2022. But Neuralink has been experimenting with implants in monkeys' brains, with some of them able to play video games with their minds. But the company has also seen some backlash over animal cruelty, with a lot of those monkey patients reportedly dying.
More recently: Last year, Neuralink began looking for patients for trials, specifically people with quadriplegia from spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Thousands reportedly showed interest, and the company plans to do surgery on 11 patients this year and to involve over 22,000 participants by 2030. In May, Neuralink achieved a big milestone with US regulatory approval for its initial human trials.
The development: Musk shared a big update on Neuralink this week, saying the company successfully put its brain device into a person for the first time. He shared this news on X, saying the patient was recovering well and they were getting good early results from the procedure. Musk said this first product would be called Telepathy and will let you have "control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking,"
"The first human received an implant from Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well," said Elon Musk on X. "Initial results show promising neuron spike detection."
"Enables control of your phone or computer and through them almost any device, just by thinking. Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs," said Musk. "Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal."
"This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people," said Neuralink last year.