Elon Musk’s Neuralink Is Working on a New Brain Implant Device

The tiny wires in Neuralink’s brain implant used in the first test participant in Elon Musk’s company have become “more or less stable,” a company executive said Wednesday.

In May, the company reported that several tiny fibers had become displaced in the brain of Noland Arbaugh, who was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a 2016 diving accident.

“After brain surgery, it takes some time for the tissues to settle in and anchor the threads in place. Once that happens, everything will be stable,” said Neuralink CEO Dongjin “DJ” Seo.

First Brain Implant Patient Noland Arbaugh
Neuralink is working on a new device that it says will require implanting half of its electrodes in the brain to make it more efficient and effective. The first patient with a brain implant, Noland Arbaugh, above. Bridge of Care

So far, Arbaugh, who lives in Arizona, has been the only patient to receive the implant, but Musk said he hopes the number of participants will reach single digits this year.

The company is currently taking measures to reduce the risk, such as modeling the skull and lowering blood carbon dioxide levels to normal levels in patients, company executives said in a live broadcast on social media platform X.

“For the upcoming implants, we plan to very deliberately sculpt the surface of the skull to minimize the gap under the implant… that will bring it closer to the brain and eliminate some of the stress on the threads,” said Matthew MacDougall, chief of neurosurgery at Neuralink.

Neuralink is testing its implant to give paralyzed patients the ability to use digital devices while thinking for themselves. The device works by using tiny wires that are thinner than a human hair to capture signals from the brain and translate them into actions, such as moving a mouse cursor on a computer screen.

Logo Neurlink
The company is also taking measures to reduce risks, such as sculpting the skull and lowering blood carbon dioxide levels to normal levels in patients. Reuters Agency

Musk said during the livestream that the device does not harm the brain. The Food and Drug Administration, initially considering the device years ago, raised safety concerns but ultimately gave the company the green light to begin human trials last year.

So far, the device allows Arbaugh to play video games, browse the Internet and move the cursor on his laptop using only his mind, according to the company’s blog posts and videos.

Neuralink is also working on a new device that is believed to involve implanting half of the electrodes in the brain, making it more efficient and effective.