Neuralink recognizes a failure in the patient’s brain implant

10 May 2024 2 minutes Author: Newsman

Neuralink is developing a brain-computer interface that allows people with paralysis to control technology with their thoughts. In January, such a device was implanted in 29-year-old Noland Arbo. According to Musk, Arbo managed to control a computer mouse using only thoughts. In March, he was shown in a video playing chess, describing how he became paralyzed.

Eight years ago, Arbo became paralyzed from the shoulders down in a diving accident. After the operation, he was happy to report that it went “very well”. However, Neuralink recently discovered a problem with the implant – several threads implanted in Arbo’s brain had shifted, reducing the amount of data the device could receive.

The Wall Street Journal asked the company about the incident, and only after that did Neuralink publicly acknowledge the problem on its blog. They noted, “In the week after surgery, several filaments retracted back into the brain, resulting in a reduction in the number of effective electrodes and a reduction in the baud rate (BPS).”

According to The Wall Street Journal sources, Arbo may have had an air bubble (pneumocephalus) left in his skull after the surgery. The company Neuralink does not see this as a problem and has made changes to the algorithm to increase sensitivity to brain signals and optimized the interface. Thanks to these updates, the efficiency of the system exceeded the initial indicators.

Sources of The Wall Street Journal state that the question of the possibility of removing the implant (so-called “explantation”) has been raised, although the problem does not pose a risk to the patient’s health. Arbo was satisfied: “This is a luxurious surplus for me. I couldn’t do it for 8 years, now I don’t know where to direct my attention.” Despite the problems, Arbo even did a live broadcast using the implant to navigate the computer and play games.

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