In what can be said to have been derived from a movie scene with a futuristic storyline, Elon Musk’s brain-chip startup Neuralink has created history by implanting a brain chip in the first human patient.

The first human patient has received an implant from brain-chip startup Neuralink on Sunday and is recovering well, the company’s billionaire founder Elon Musk said. “Initial results show promising neuron spike detection,” Musk said in a post on the social media platform X on Monday.

​Neuralink was granted permission to test the chip in May last year​

In May 2023, Neuralink won the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its first human clinical trial. The FDA approval represented “an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people”, Neuralink said at the time.

How was the study done?

“This is a first-in-human study to evaluate the safety and initial effectiveness of the N1 Implant (a BCI implant), the R1 Robot (a surgical robot), and N1 User App (BCI software) in enabling individuals with paralysis to control external devices. The devices used in this study are investigational, and not for sale,” Neuralink has said. “During the study, the R1 Robot will be used to surgically place the N1 Implant in a region of the brain that controls movement intention. Participants will be asked to use the N1 Implant and N1 User App to control a computer and provide feedback about the system,” it has explained.

Eligibility of participants​

Neuralink had invited volunteers for the study. “Have quadriplegia (limited function in all 4 limbs) due to spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and are at least 1-year post-injury (without improvement), are at least 22 years old and have a consistent and reliable caregiver, the Neuralink has mentioned in its brochure. However, participants who have an active implanted device (pacemaker, deep brain stimulator (DBS), etc.), have a history of seizures, require MRIs for an ongoing medical condition, and are receiving transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatment are not eligible for the program.

​The first product from Neuralink would be called Telepathy​

In another tweet, Elon Musk had talked about the first product from Neuralink. “The first @Neuralink product is called Telepathy. Enables control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking. Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs. Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal,” he tweeted.