Elon Musk Touts Successful 100 Days Of First Neuralink Implant Even As Company Admits Malfunction: 'Threads Retracted From the Brain'

Elon Musk, the founder of Neuralink Corp, on Wednesday, hailed the successful 100-day milestone since the first human implant of the company’s brain-computer interface or BCI. However, in the blog post shared by Neuralink, the startup has also acknowledged a malfunction in the system.

What Happened: Musk took to X, formerly Twitter to share the news of the 100-day milestone since the first human implant of Neuralink. The company’s official handle also posted about the achievement, saying, “We've just passed 100 days since the first participant in our clinical trial received his Neuralink implant.”

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The first participant, Noland Arbaugh, received the implant at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. The surgery was successful, and Arbaugh was able to return home the following day.

However, the company also revealed that part of the implant malfunctioned after the initial procedure. “In the weeks following the surgery, a number of threads retracted from the brain, resulting in a net decrease in the number of effective electrodes. This led to a reduction in BPS,” Neuralink stated. This development was first highlighted by CNBC.

Despite this setback, Neuralink said that it made adjustments to the recording algorithm, improved the user interface, and worked on enhancing signal translation into cursor movements. “These refinements produced a rapid and sustained improvement in BPS, that has now superseded Noland's initial performance.”

Neuralink did not immediately respond to Benzinga’s request for comments.

The startup reportedly considered removing the implant but ultimately decided against it, as the issue did not pose a direct risk to Arbaugh’s safety, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Arbaugh, who uses the BCI system for up to 10 hours a day, has reported significant benefits, describing the Link as a “luxury overload” that has helped him “reconnect with the world.”

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Why It Matters: In March, it was reported, that the scientific community has also voiced apprehensions regarding the device’s long-term effectiveness and safety. Experts are eager to observe if there’s any degradation in the quality of neuronal signal detection over time, a prevalent challenge in current BCI technology. The durability and dependability of Neuralink’s implant are pivotal queries as the technology advances.

Meanwhile, Synchron Inc., a company backed by Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, is also reportedly advancing toward a pivotal clinical trial for its brain implant technology. This development could potentially rival Neuralink and pose a challenge to Musk’s company in the BCI industry.

Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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