Web Stories Friday, March 1

Elon Musk’s controversial startup Neuralink has implanted a chip in a human brain for the first time, the billionaire said in a post on his X platform late Monday.

The operation took place on Sunday and the patient was recovering well, he added.

Musk’s announcement could mark an important milestone for Neuralink’s efforts to usher potentially life-transforming technology out of the lab and into the real world. But he offered few details.

“Initial results show promising neuron spike detection,” the world’s richest man said on X, the social media platform he owns.

Neuralink’s first product would be called Telepathy, he said in another post, adding that its initial users will be people who have lost the use of their limbs.

“Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal,” he wrote.

Neuralink has been working toward using implants to connect the human brain to a computer for half a decade, but the company faced scrutiny after a monkey died in 2022 during an attempt to get the animal to play Pong, one of the first video games.

In May last year, Neuralink received FDA clearance for human clinical trials, and a few months later, the startup began recruiting patients with quadriplegia caused by cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Trial patients will have a chip surgically placed in the part of the brain that controls the intention to move. The chip, installed by a robot, will then record and send brain signals to an app, with the initial goal being “to grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone,” the company wrote when it was recruiting people for its trial in September.

Neuralink did not respond to CNN’s request for further details.

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