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Neuralink knew years ago its brain chip could malfunction: report

Neuralink was aware of the risks of its brain chip implant malfunctioning in its first human patient years before its insertion, Reuters reported.

Noland Arbaugh received the implant in January, but things didn’t go as planned. A few weeks after the procedure, some wires from the device became detached from his brain, the company announced last week.

A Reuters report, which cited five anonymous sources, said Neuralink knew wires could pull out of its device after conducting animal tests. Neuralink decided the device did not need to be reconfigured because it believed the risk of wire retraction was low, the report said.

Elon Musk’s company carried out experiments on animals, including monkeys, before obtaining authorization last May from the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct human trials. It begins by testing the implant, called “The Link,” on paralyzed people to allow them to control devices using their thoughts.

The Link has more than 1,000 electrodes and at least 64 wires or “wires,” each thinner than a strand of human hair, some of which are displaced.

That made the impact less effective, leading to weaker control over Arbaugh’s ability to move a cursor on a computer screen, Neuralink said last week.

The neurotechnology company even considered removing Arbaugh’s implant completely, the Wall Street Journal reported, but Neuralink later made adjustments that improved its functionality, the blog said.

Arbaugh was paralyzed below the shoulders after a diving accident in 2016, and since receiving the implant, he has been able to control his laptop while lying in bed, browse the web, and play games. computer games.

In last week’s blog post, he said: “(The Link) helped me reconnect with the world, my friends and my family. It gave me the ability to do things on my own again without needing my family at all hours of the day. the day and the night. »

The company also plans to implant 10 of its devices in other human patients by the end of this year, the Journal reported.

Neuralink did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, made outside of regular business hours.

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