Neuralink starts recruitment for first human trials

Elon Musk’s Neuralink has officially started recruitment for its first clinical trial involving humans, known as the “Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface study,” or PRIME study for short. This trial aims to assess the capabilities of Neuralink’s fully implantable and wireless brain-computer interface (BCI) system, along with its state-of-the-art surgical robot, with the primary objective being to enable individuals with paralysis to control external devices using their thoughts.

Neuralink’s N1 brain implant, approximately the size of a coin, is at the heart of this technological marvel. This remotely rechargeable implant is accompanied by electrode-laced threads that delve deeper into the brain, and it is seamlessly integrated with the R1 robot, designed to delicately implant the BCI system while avoiding vasculature.

According to a blog post on the company’s website, the R1 robot will meticulously place the N1’s threads in the region of the brain responsible for motion intention. Once in place, the N1 remains cosmetically inconspicuous while wirelessly recording and transmitting brain signals to a dedicated app. This app will then decipher movement intentions, giving users the extraordinary ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.

The start of recruitment for this trial follows Neuralink’s approval by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year. The trial, known as the “Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface study,” specifically targets patients with cervical spinal cord injuries and ALS, two conditions that profoundly affect mobility and independence.

The ultimate vision for Neuralink is to help paralyzed patients regain the ability to walk, and with the launch of this initial clinical trial, the company is taking its first steps in making that a reality.

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