Elon Musk has announced the first human patient to receive a brain-chip from his company Neuralink is recovering well.
The billionaire also revealed he hoped the product – called ‘Telepathy’ – will eventually allow users with disabilities like Stephen Hawking to “communicate faster than an auctioneer”.
“Initial results show promising neuron spike detection,” Mr Musk said in a post on the social media platform X on Monday.
Spikes are activity by neurons, which the National Institute of Health describes as cells that use electrical and chemical signals to send information around the brain and to the body.
Mr Musk said it will “‘enable control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking”.
The US Food and Drug Administration gave the company clearance last year to conduct its first trial to test its implant on humans, a critical milestone in the start-up’s hopes to help patients overcome paralysis and a host of neurological conditions.
In September, Neuralink said it received approval for recruitment for the human trial.
The study uses a robot to surgically place a brain-computer interface (BCI) implant in a region of the brain that controls
the intention to move.
The company says its initial goal is to enable people to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.
The implants’ “ultra-fine” threads help transmit signals in participants’ brains, Neuralink says.
The start-up’s PRIME Study is a trial for its wireless brain-computer interface to evaluate the safety of the implant and surgical robot.
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Earlier this month the company was fined for violating US Department of Transportation (DOT) rules regarding the movement of hazardous materials.
The company was valued at about $5bn (£3.9bn) last June, but four politicians in late November asked the US Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Musk had misled investors about the safety of its technology after veterinary records showed problems with the implants on monkeys included paralysis, seizures and brain swelling.
Musk wrote in a social media post in September that “no monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant”.
He added that the company chose “terminal” monkeys to minimize risk to healthy ones.