Elon Musk-founded Neuralink says brain implant had mechanical issues after first human surgery

Neuralink. Representational image by Steve Jurvetson on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

#Neuralink, #ElonMusk, #BrainImplant

California/IBNS-CMEDIA: In a major setback for Elon Musk-founded brain technology company Neuralink, the device it implanted in its first human patient has had mechanical issues, according to a blog post by the company.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported about the malfunction.

According to the blog post, in the weeks following the January surgery on first PRIME study patient Noland Arbaugh, some of the electrode-studded threads that sit in the brain tissue began to retract from that tissue, resulting in the device not working properly.

The company said it compensated for that retraction through a series of software fixes, which “produced a rapid and sustained improvement that has now superseded Noland’s initial performance”.

Neuralink is currently working on improving text entry for the device as well as cursor control – and that it eventually aims to extend to the use of physical world devices such as robotic arms and wheelchairs, the company said in the blog post.

According to experts working in the brain-implant field, the complications may have arisen from the fact that the threads connect to a device that sits within the skull bone, rather than on the surface of the brain tissue.