The first Neuralink implant in a human malfunctioned after several threads recording neural activity retracted from the brain, the Elon Musk-owned startup revealed Wednesday.

The threads retracted in the weeks following the surgery in late January that placed the Neuralink hardware in 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh’s brain, the company said in a blog post.

This reduced the number of effective electrodes and the ability of Arbaugh, a quadriplegic, to control a computer cursor with his brain.

“In response to this change, we modified the recording algorithm to be more sensitive to neural population signals, improved the techniques to translate these signals into cursor movements, and enhanced the user interface,” Neuralink said in the blog post.

The company said the adjustments resulted in a “rapid and sustained improvement” in bits-per-second, a measure of speed and accuracy of cursor control, surpassing Arbaugh’s initial performance.

While the problem doesn’t appear to pose a risk to Arbaugh’s safety, Neuralink reportedly floated the idea of removing his implant, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The company has also told the Food and Drug Administration that it believes it has a solution for the issue that occurred with Arbaugh’s implant, the Journal reported.

The implant was placed just more than 100 days ago. In the blog post, the company touted Arbaugh’s ability to play online computer games, browse the internet, livestream and use other applications “all by controlling a cursor with his mind.”

  • penquin@lemm.ee
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    1 month ago

    Hate Elon or love him, this is pretty cool honestly. I hope it succeeds.

      • penquin@lemm.ee
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        1 month ago

        Understand that, and kudos to all the great minds who made this thing a reality.

    • Phegan@lemmy.world
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      1 month ago

      Nah this is a pretty dumb idea that is going to go poorly. It’s just techobros wishing we lived in a science fiction novel.

      • TimeSquirrel@kbin.social
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        1 month ago

        Everything’s “techbros living in a sci-fi novel”, until one day it isn’t.

        I’m only 42 and I have seen very incredible advancements made in my lifetime that I never thought would be reality as a child. Handheld mobile communications devices that allow you to talk and share media instantly with anyone on the planet, for instance. That’s some literal Star Trek shit. Or the fact we now have the equivalent computing power of all the world’s supercomputers in the 80s put together on our desks. Or RNA vaccines, instead of using dead or dying viruses, we can now reprogram the body to make whatever antibodies it needs.

      • KuraiWolfGaming@pawb.social
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        1 month ago

        Based on your reaction, I’d hate to hear your opinion on AI. Let me guess, its corpo data theft and only data theft?

        What about the multitude of FOSS projects that even you could use if you wanted?

      • testfactor@lemmy.world
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        1 month ago

        Maybe someday, but that’s not the point of the tech as it stands. It’s accessibility.

        They guy who it failed in (Noland Arbaugh) is a full on quadriplegic. The ability to use a computer in a semi-normal way is absolutely beyond life changing for him.

        • wizardbeard@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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          1 month ago

          But those options were available to him without a risky brain implant. There’s a large amount of alternative interface methods and tools available for these purposes, they just don’t have Musk’s marketing budget and they aren’t run by someone that owns a newspaper, so they’re not well known outside the disabled community.

          We’ve had wearable (and thus removable and non invasive) neural interfaces for years now that have been able to do mouse control.

          We’ve had robust eye tracker control since Steven fucking Hawking.

          This is being framed as though this was the only way for this person to have these abilities and options available, and that is patently false.

        • penquin@lemm.ee
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          1 month ago

          How dare you state anything but “I hate Elon and he’s a POS and everything he does is bad”. Elon is a garbage human being and I dislike him just as much as the other person, but I’m still going to give credit when it’s due. This is a fucking cool idea and will help a lot of people.