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Neuralink Announces It’s First Human Brain Chip Implant Malfunctioned

Elon Musk’s brain technology company, Neuralink, is facing a major setback.

Neuralink, in an announcement today, revealed that the company’s first human brain implant is having issues.

In a blog post, the company stated that “a number of the implant’s connective threads retracted from the brain, causing a reduction in the signals.”

However, despite issues, the brain implant can still successfully’ detect the patient’s brain signals.

Neuralink’s first patient is 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh.

Here he is:

Here’s what NBC News reported:

Elon Musk’s brain technology startup Neuralink said Wednesday that an issue cropped up with the company’s first human brain implant weeks after it was inserted into a patient.

The company revealed in a blog post that in the weeks following the patient’s surgery in January, a number of the implant’s connective threads retracted from the brain, causing a reduction in the signals that could be captured by the device.

Neuralink provided few other details about the problem and did not disclose what may have caused the threads to retract.

The company did say, however, that it modified an algorithm “to be more sensitive to neural population signals,” meaning it was able to improve how the patient’s brain signals were detected and translated.

Neuralink’s first human patient, 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh, lost all movement and sensation in his arms and legs after a diving accident in 2016.

Neuralink’s N1 device is about the size of a quarter and is designed to be fully implanted on the skull. The device is connected to the brain’s motor cortex through 64 ultra-thin threads with tiny electrodes that pick up neural signals from the patient.

Despite the initial hiccup, Elon Musk is calling the brain implant a success:

Per The Telegraph:

The first ever chip implanted into a human brain by Elon Musk’s Neuralink company has malfunctioned, it has announced.

The leads connecting the device to the mind of Noland Arbaugh, a paraplegic, “retracted”, reducing the amount of data it could collect.

The device was implanted into the US patient, who was paralysed from the neck down in a diving accident, in January. The chip is about the size of a 50p piece, and sits in the top of Mr Arbaugh’s head, in a hole drilled into his skull.

It has 64 flexible “threads” that extend into the motor cortex of his brain, allowing him to control devices and play video games using his mind. The company announced on Wednesday that the device recently malfunctioned after some of the threads retracted from his brain, reducing the amount of data it could receive.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Neuralink said the failure in the threads resulted in “a net decrease in the number of effective electrodes” and that the device had been adjusted to make it more sensitive.


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