The first Neuralink chip implanted in a human brain begins to come off

Neuralinkthe neural technology company Elon Musk, implanted the first brain chip in a human last January. The patient was Noland Arbaugh, a 29-year-old man who suffers from quadriplegia, is paralyzed from the shoulders down after suffering a diving accident 8 years ago. The chip grafted into the brain, N1is a brain-computer interface that allows you to control a computer mouse with thought, which has opened up a world of possibilities since then. After 100 days after the operation, N1 is exhibiting some problems that, for the moment, Neuralink is managing to overcome.

The company published this Wednesday an update on the status of the implant in which it explains that some of the 64 “wires” that connect the chip to the brain are retracting. This limits the amount of data they can collect, but Neuralink has found a solution by making their algorithm more sensitive.

“In response to this change, we modified the recording algorithm to make it more sensitive to signals from the neuronal population, we improved techniques for translating these signals into cursor movements and improved the user interface. These refinements produced a rapid and sustained improvement in BPS, which has now restored Noland's initial performance” explains Neuralink.

BPS is the rate of bits per second which is used to measure how quickly and accurately a patient with an implant can control a computer cursor.

The problem started at the end of February, approximately one month after N1 implantation on Arbaugh's brain, which took place on January 28. Neuralink has made this situation public after The Wall Street Journal reported on it.

This media suggests, citing sources familiar with Neuralink, that air trapped inside the skull after surgery, a condition called pneumocephalus, was causing the threads to retract. Arbaugh's health does not appear to be affected by this situation, but The Wall Street Journal has noted that Neuralink considered removing the implant after detecting the problem. After modifying the algorithm that decodes the electrode signals, Arbaugh regained his bit rate per second.

Neuralink has not specified how many of those 64 threads are coming off, nor the cause that is motivating it. Among all of them they contain 1,024 electrodeseach one finer than a hair, which are placed near neurons of interest so that the signals they detect can be recorded and decoded into intended actions, such as moving a cursor on a computer screen.

The implementation of N1 is part of the study PRIME which aims to evaluate the safety of the implant, its functionality. and the Neuralink R1 surgical robot that carried out the intervention.

After her, Neuralink reported Arbaugh's recovery and several videos have been published in which you can see him playing chess on a computer already video games like Mario Kart and Civilization VI. N1 has provided you with the ability to move a computer cursor at 80% of the speed a person would do under normal physical conditions.

Arbaugh has explained on several occasions that this brain chip has helped him to reconnect with the world, your friends and your family, in addition to giving you the ability to do things on your own again without constant need for assistance. “They are giving me too much, it's like an overload of luxury, I haven't been able to do these things in 8 years and now I don't even know where to start devoting my attention”, he assured.