The first human patient received an implant from brain-chip startup Neuralink on Sunday and is doing well, according to the company’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk.
“Initial results show promising neuron spike detection,” Musk wrote on the social media platform X on Monday.
Spikes are caused by neurons, which are defined by the National Institute of Health as cells that use electrical and chemical signals to transmit information throughout the brain and to the body.
Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s first trial to test its implant on humans, a critical milestone in the startup’s plans to help patients overcome paralysis and other neurological conditions.
In September, Neuralink announced that it had received approval to recruit for the human trial.
According to Neuralink, the study uses a robot to surgically place a brain-computer interface (BCI) implant in a region of the brain that controls the intention to move, with the initial goal of allowing people to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.
Neuralink claims that the implants’ “ultra-fine” threads help transmit signals in participants’ brains.
Musk announced in a separate post on X that Neuralink’s first product would be called Telepathy.
The PRIME Study is a trial of the startup’s wireless brain-computer interface to assess the safety of the implant and surgical robot.
Neuralink did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for additional information.
Concerns have been raised about the company’s safety protocols. Reuters reported earlier this month that the company had been fined for violating U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations governing the movement of hazardous materials.
The company was valued at around $5 billion in June, but four lawmakers asked the Securities and Exchange Commission in late November to look into whether Musk misled investors about the safety of his technology after veterinary records revealed problems with monkey implants such as paralysis, seizures, and brain swelling.
Musk claimed in a social media post on September 10 that “no monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant.” He added that the company used “terminal” monkeys to reduce the risk to healthy ones.