Elon Musk’s company Neuralink recently placed its brain implant in a person for the first time. Musk shared on X (previously known as Twitter) that the patient is doing well. Neuralink is working on a brain implant to assist people with serious paralysis in controlling devices through their neural signals.
The company started recruiting participants for its first human trial in the fall after getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May, as mentioned in a blog post.
On Monday, Musk mentioned on X that Neuralink’s initial product is named Telepathy. If the technology works as intended, individuals with conditions like ALS could potentially use the implant to communicate or engage in social media activities by controlling cursors and typing using their thoughts.
Musk expressed the vision of enabling faster communication for individuals like Stephen Hawking, surpassing the speed of a skilled typist or auctioneer.
The clinical trial involving humans is just a single phase in Neuralink’s journey toward making their product available to the public. Before receiving the final approval from the FDA, medical device companies, including Neuralink, need to undergo multiple rounds of rigorous data collection and safety testing.
Neuralink didn’t reveal the number of human participants in its first human trial.
Being a prominent player in the emerging field of brain-computer interface (BCI), Neuralink is widely recognized, mainly due to the high-profile involvement of Musk, who also serves as the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.
A BCI is a technology that interprets signals from the brain, converting them into commands for external devices. Other companies such as Synchron, Precision Neuroscience, Paradromics, and Blackrock Neurotech have also developed systems with similar capabilities.
Paradromics plans to initiate its initial trial involving human patients in the first half of this year. Precision Neuroscience conducted its inaugural clinical study with humans last year. In 2021, a patient with Synchron’s brain-computer interface (BCI) posted on CEO Tom Oxley’s Twitter account. It remains uncertain which company will be the first to enter the market.
Neuralink’s new brain implant, known as Telepathy, could transform communication for people with conditions like ALS. Elon Musk envisions faster and more efficient communication. As Neuralink undergoes human trials and FDA approvals, competitors like Paradromics and Precision Neuroscience are also advancing in the field. The competition for market leadership is still ongoing.