First Neuralink Patient ‘Controls Mouse With Thoughts’

The first human being with a brain implant from start-up Neuralink has recovered and is able to control a computer mouse with their thoughts, Neuralink owner Elon Musk has said.

“Progress is good, and the patient seems to have made a full recovery, with no ill effects that we are aware of,” Musk said in a Spaces event on X, formerly Twitter, late on Monday.

“Patient is able to move a mouse around the screen by just thinking,” he added.

Musk said Neuralink was trying to get “as many button presses as possible from thinking” from the patient and that this could include moving the mouse up and down to drag boxes on a screen.

Image credit: Neuralink

‘Telepathy’

Neuralink said late last month it had implanted a human brain with a test device for the first time after obtaining permission from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last May to test its chip on humans.

The company was given the go-ahead in September to begin recruitment for a human subject.

Musk said at the time Neuralink’s first product would be called Telepathy and would enable “control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking”.

He said initial target users would be those who had lost the use of their limbs.

Six-year study

In the past Musk has said he wants Neuralink ultimately to provide devices that can be easily attached to the brain to treat conditions such as obesity, autism, depression and schizophrenia.

The firm has now begun a six-year study in which a robot is used to surgically place 64 “ultra-fine and flexible threads”, each thinner than a human hair, onto part of the brain that controls “movement intention”.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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