A Neuralink brain chip has been implanted in a human for the first time, entrepreneur Elon Musk said.
The Twitter CEO, who founded Neuralink, wrote on Twitter at 11am AEDT today: “The first human received an implant from Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well. Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.”
The neurotechnology company co-founded by Mr Musk in 2016 aims to build direct communication channels between the brain and computers.
The ambition is to supercharge human capabilities, treat neurological disorders like ALS or Parkinson’s, as well as restore vision for people who are born blind.
It might also one day achieve a symbiotic relationship between humans and artificial intelligence.
Mr Musk added: “[The brain chip] enables control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking.
“Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs.
“Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal.”
He confirmed the first Neuralink product was called Telepathy.
If Neuralink is successful, millions of people around the world living with paralysis could be assisted.
Mr Musk, one of the world’s richest people, has also hinted the technology could go a step further — towards the world previously only imagined in sci-fi shows like Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell.
Among his goals is to, “achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence” and that could involve merging humans with AI, according to Vox.
The technology has previously been tested on terminally ill monkeys and Mr Musk claimed the chip had not caused any deaths.
“Neuralink has never caused the death of a monkey… in fact, we now have monkeys who have had Neuralink implants for two to three years, and they’re doing great,” he said last year.
He described the monkeys as living in “paradise”, despite reports the primates had suffered painful deaths.
The start-up last year said it won approval from US regulators to test its brain implants in people.
Neuralink’s technology will mainly work through an implant called the “Link” — a device about the size of five stacked coins that is placed inside the human brain through invasive surgery.
According to data company Pitchbook, last year California-based Neuralink had more than 400 employees and has raised at least $363 million.
Though he wins most of the headlines, Mr Musk is hardly alone in trying to make advances in the field, which is officially known as brain-machine or brain-computer interface research.
Hit with delays, the tycoon had reportedly reached out to join forces with implant developer Synchron about a potential investment.
Unlike Neuralink’s Link, its implant version does not require cutting into the skull to install it.
The Australia-based Synchron implanted its first device in a US patient in July 2022.
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