Neuralink’s First Patient Says He ‘Cried A Little Bit’ After His Brain Implant Started Malfunctioning

The first person to receive a Neuralink brain implant, 29-year-old quadriplegic Noland Arbaugh, spoke with Bloomberg about his experience and described his shock weeks after the implant when he learned his Neuralink implant had malfunctioned.

Neuralink experimented after Arbaugh observed a lag between his thoughts and the movement of a computer cursor. They told him that the device’s wires, or “threads,” had come loose from his brain.

“At first, they didn’t know how serious or a ton about it would be. It was really hard to hear. I thought I’d gotten to use it for maybe a month, and then my journey was ending,” Arbaugh recounted.

In a recent blog post, Neuralink announced the issue and updated its efforts to resolve it. The implant, called “The Link,” has 64 threads thinner than a human hair and more than 1,000 electrodes. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company was considering getting rid of the device completely because some of these threads had moved.

Arbaugh commented, “I thought they would just keep collecting some data but that they were really going to move on to the next person,” thinking of the situation. I cried a little.”

In the blog post, Neuralink, Elon Musk’s neurotechnology company, also claimed to have resolved the problem and that the implant was now operating more effectively than it had. After his operation, Arbaugh used the implant to do things he couldn’t have done before, like play video games, browse the internet, and operate his laptop while lying in bed.

What to know about Elon Musk's Neuralink, which put an implant into a human  brain for the first time - OPB

Notwithstanding the initial setback, Arbaugh’s case highlights the difficulties of Neuralink’s innovative technology. Still, thanks to the company’s attempts to fix the issue, there is optimism for future developments and improvements in brain-machine interfaces.

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