Neuralink says its first in-human brain implant encounters problem

In January, Neuralink implanted the device in a 29-year-old patient named Noland Arbaugh as part of a study to test its safety. The company livestreamed video with Arbaugh as he used the BCI in March, and Neuralink said in an April blog post that the operation went “extremely well.”

But in the weeks that followed, a number of wires pulled out of Arbaugh’s brain, Neuralink said in a blog post Wednesday. This meant there were fewer effective electrodes, making it harder for the company to measure the Link’s speed and accuracy.

Neuralink did not reveal how many threads retracted from the fabric. The company did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

To get around the problem, Neuralink said it changed the recording algorithm, improved the user interface and worked on improving techniques for translating signals into cursor movements, the blog post said. Neuralink reportedly considered removing the implant, but the problem does not pose a direct risk to Arbaugh’s safety, according to the Wall Street Journal, which previously reported the problem. Neuralink shared its blog post after the Journal asked the company about the issue, according to the report.

Although some wires pulled out of Arbaugh’s brain tissue, Neuralink said he used the company’s BCI system about eight hours a day during the week, and often up to 10 hours a day on weekends. .

Arbaugh said the Link is like an “overload of luxury” and has helped him “reconnect with the world,” according to the blog post.

Neuralink isn’t the only company building a BCI system, and the technology has been explored in academia for decades.

Neuralink still has a long way to go in safety and effectiveness testing before it can be eligible for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to commercialize the technology.

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