Home Tech We finally know where the Neuralink brain implant trial is taking place

We finally know where the Neuralink brain implant trial is taking place

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We finally know where the Neuralink brain implant trial is taking place

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain implant company, has chosen Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, as the initial study site to test its telepathy device.

The first participant in the Neuralink study, Noah Arbaugh, underwent a successful procedure at the institute in January to have the device implanted. Known as brain-computer interface, or BCI, the technology is intended to translate brain signals into commands that control a computer or other external device. The goal of Neuralink is to allow people with paralysis to use a cursor or keyboard with just their thoughts.

In March, Arbaugh demonstrated his ability to use the system in a brief livestream on social media platform X. Eight years ago, a diving accident left Arbaugh paralyzed from the shoulders down. In the video, he is shown using a computer to play chess online. He said that he also uses the Neuralink interface to play the video game. Civilization.

“We chose to partner with Barrow because of their extensive experience caring for patients with complex neurological conditions,” Neuralink said in a recent blog post. Barrow took out his Press release announcing the partnership as well. The institute has more than 300 active clinical trials currently underway and performs around 6,000 neurosurgeries a year. When contacted by email, a Barrow spokesperson said the institute is not conducting interviews at this time. Neuralink did not respond to a request for comment.

Neuralink has been criticized for not publishing any peer-reviewed research or including its study in ClinicalTrials.gov, an online repository for human subjects research. Instead, updates about the trial emerged from social media posts from Neuralink or from Musk himself, the company’s co-founder. The company published a brochure last fall which provides some details about the study, including basic information about how the device works and who is eligible to participate. The test site announcement, Arbaugh’s livestreamed demo, and Neuralink’s recent blog post fill in some of those gaps.

The study will evaluate the initial safety and effectiveness of the Neuralink device. It is open to adults with quadriplegia due to a vertical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis who are 22 years of age or older and have a caregiver. According to Barrow’s statement, an initial evaluation of the safety and usability of the Neuralink system will be submitted to the FDA in the coming months.

According to Neuralink’s brochure, the study will take approximately six years to complete. A surgical robot developed by Neuralink will install the implant in a region of the brain that controls movement intention. The coin-sized implant reads neural activity from 1,024 electrodes spread across 64 wires. Those signals are sent wirelessly to a device running Neuralink software, which then decodes them into movements.

Neuralink has launched a patient registry for paralyzed people who are interested in knowing if they qualify for the study. The company says it is still in the early stages of the study and plans to provide additional updates on Arbaugh and future participants.

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