Neuralink’s Leap: First Human Implanted with “R1” BCI Device

Photo: Steve Jurvetson, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Neuralink, the neurotech brainchild of Elon Musk, has successfully implanted a wireless brain-computer interface (BCI) in a human patient for the first time.

Neurolink says on its website that its BCI “is fully implantable, cosmetically invisible, and designed to let you control a computer or mobile device anywhere you go.”

The implant’s threads are so fine that the human hand cannot insert them. Instead, Neuralink says it uses a surgical robot that “has been designed to reliably and efficiently insert these threads exactly where they need to be.”

Musk announced the news of the successful implantation in a post on X.

“Initial results show promising neuron spike detection,” Musk said.

Ultimately, the goal is to connect human brains to computers so that people with severe paralysis can operate external devices using neural signals.

“Enables control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking.

“Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs.

“Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal,” Musk added in a separate post.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the company the green light for its PRIME Study (short for Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface) in May 2023.

According to a Neuralink blog post last year: “During the [PRIME] study, the R1 Robot will be used to surgically place the N1 Implant’s ultra-fine and flexible threads in a region of the brain that controls movement intention. Once in place, the N1 Implant is cosmetically invisible and is intended to record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that decodes movement intention. The initial goal of our BCI is to grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.”