Neuralink faces design flaw in brain implant.

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Neuralink’s Brain Implant Design Flaw Uncovered

Neuralink, the brain chip startup established in 2016 by renowned entrepreneur Elon Musk, has recently come under scrutiny due to a design flaw in its brain implant’s electrode-containing threads, as revealed in a recent report.

The issue came to light when it was disclosed that certain threads, utilized for recording neural activity, had retracted from the brain of an individual participating in the company’s ongoing clinical trial. However, a report from Reuters unveiled that this design flaw had been known to Neuralink for years.

History of the Design Flaw

Sources familiar with the matter disclosed that Neuralink had been aware of the potential risk of thread retraction from previous animal testing. These threads, which are thinner than a human hair, have the propensity to retract along with the electrodes responsible for reading brain signals. Despite this knowledge, Neuralink did not consider the risk significant enough to warrant a redesign of the implant.

Furthermore, the report indicated that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was cognizant of this risk when granting approval for Neuralink’s implant to proceed to human trials last year.

Implications on Clinical Trials

Neuralink’s current focus lies in testing its implant on individuals with paralysis, with the overarching goal of enabling them to interact with devices such as smartphones or computers using only their thoughts. The inaugural recipient of Neuralink’s device was Noland Arbaugh, a 29-year-old quadriplegic, who underwent implantation in February.

Remarkably, Arbaugh has successfully used Neuralink’s implant to engage in activities like playing video games such as Mario Kart, Civilization, and chess. Nevertheless, the recent incident of thread retraction within Arbaugh’s brain resulted in diminished functionality of the implant in reading brain activity.

Neuralink, however, promptly responded by adjusting the device’s algorithm to enhance sensitivity to brain signals, thereby mitigating the impact of the design flaw on the ongoing clinical trial.

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Chris Jones

Hey there! 👋 I'm Chris, 34 yo from Toronto (CA), I'm a journalist with a PhD in journalism and mass communication. For 5 years, I worked for some local publications as an envoy and reporter. Today, I work as 'content publisher' for InformOverload. 📰🌐 Passionate about global news, I cover a wide range of topics including technology, business, healthcare, sports, finance, and more. If you want to know more or interact with me, visit my social channels, or send me a message.
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