Elon Musk’s Neuralink reports trouble with first human brain chip.

The first invasive brain chip that Neuralink embedded into a human brain has malfunctioned, with neuron-surveilling threads appearing to have become dislodged from the participant's brain, the company revealed in a blog post Wednesday.

It's unclear what caused the threads to become "retracted" from the brain, how many have retracted, or if the displaced threads pose a safety risk. Neuralink, the brain-computer interface startup run by controversial billionaire Elon Musk, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Ars. The company said in its blog post that the problem began in late February, but it has since been able to compensate for the lost data to some extent by modifying its algorithm.

Neuralink touts that its invasive implant includes 64 flexible threads carrying a total of 1,024 electrodes that can detect neuronal activity. Those flexible threads—described as thinner than a human hair—are inserted individually into the brain by the company's proprietary surgical robot. The goal is for the threads to be placed near neurons of interest so that signals detected by the electrodes can be recorded and decoded into intended actions, such as moving a cursor on a computer screen.

On January 28, the company announced that it has surgically implanted its brain-computer interface into its first clinical trial participant, 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh, who developed quadriplegia after a 2016 diving accident. The surgery took place at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Musk announced on social media on January 29 that Arbaugh was "recovering well" and that the initial results were "promising."

Source: https://arstechnica.com


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