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Elon Musk: Neuralink is looking for a second person to test its brain chip

Elon Musk: Neuralink is looking for a second person to test its brain chip


New York CNN —

Elon Musk's brain implant startup Neuralink is accepting applications for a second human trial participant to test its device, the billionaire announced on X Friday.

The request comes five months after Neuralink implanted a brain chip into its first human trial participant, 30-year-old Noland Arbaugh, and the company announced an unexpected problem with the implant. This took place just one week after the admission. Neuralink said the thread connecting the chip to Arbaugh's brain had become retracted, causing performance problems, but the company said it had made adjustments to improve functionality.

Still, Arbaugh says the implant, which allows his brain to control a computer cursor, has changed his life. Arbaugh has been a quadriplegic since 2016 due to a diving accident.

“I used to wake up in the morning and have nothing to do, and that was a change for me,” Arbaugh said in an interview on Good Morning America that aired Friday. I was so happy to be a part of what I believe is so monumental. This is the next step in helping people with paralysis.

Now, Neuralink is looking for more people like Arbaugh to test its brain chips. If you have quadriplegia and want to explore new ways to control your computer, we invite you to participate in our clinical trials, the company said in X.

Ultimately, Neuralinks' ambition is to use implants to connect human brains to computers, allowing paralyzed people to control smartphones and computers, for example, or blind people to regain their sight. It is to do. Similar to existing brain-machine interfaces, the company's implant collects electrical signals sent from the brain and interprets them as movement.

The current trial participants will be part of what Neuralink is calling the PRIME study, which stands for PreciseRobotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface. The company said in a 2023 blog post that its purpose is to study the safety of implants and surgical robots and test the functionality of its devices.

The company said it is enrolling patients in the trial who have limited or no ability to use their hands due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Patients in the trial had a chip surgically implanted in the part of their brain that controls motor intentions. The chip then records brain signals and sends them to the app. Neuralink previously explained that its initial goal was to allow people to control their computer cursor and keyboard using just their thoughts.

About a month after the surgery, Musk said Arbaugh was able to control a computer mouse with his brain. Neuralink later posted a video showing Arbaugh playing chess on a computer using only his brain.

But Arbaugh told Good Morning America that he cried afterward because his device ran into unexpected problems, slowing down its data processing speed and performance.

He said it was very, very hard to give up all the great things I had been able to do.

However, Neuralink says the issue was part of a learning process.

The reason we do clinical trials and early feasibility studies is to uncover these kinds of issues as quickly as possible before they go to market, said DJ Seo, co-founder of Musk and Neuralink. he told Morning America. We tried our best to restore Norland's performance, explored various methods, and succeeded in implementing them.

Consumers won't have widespread access to this technology anytime soon. Neuralinks' brain implant requires extensive regulatory approval before it can be brought to wider market.

CNN's Jordan Walinsky contributed to this report.




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