Tech magnate Elon Musk revealed that his Neuralink company has successfully implanted its innovative wireless brain chip in a human for the first time, marking a significant advancement in the field of neurotechnology. The initial results have shown encouraging signs of neuron spikes or nerve impulses, with the patient reportedly recovering satisfactorily, he said.

Neuralink’s ambitious objective is to facilitate direct connections between human brains and computers. The company aims to address complex neurological conditions through this groundbreaking technology. This field, however, is not without competition, as several other companies have already implanted similar brain-computer interfaces.

In May, the FDA granted Neuralink permission to begin human trials, a crucial step forward following initial challenges in obtaining regulatory approval. This approval kickstarted a six-year research project. During this period, a robot will be employed to surgically place 64 flexible threads, each thinner than a human hair, onto a brain region associated with the initiation of movement, as per Neuralink’s description.

Neuralink explains that these ultra-thin threads are integral to their experimental implant. The device, which is powered by a wirelessly rechargeable battery, is designed to capture and wirelessly transmit brain signals to an application. This app decodes the person’s movement intentions.

Elon Musk, who also owns the social media platform X – formerly known as Twitter – announced that Neuralink’s inaugural product would be named Telepathy. According to Musk, Telepathy will allow users to control their phones or computers, and consequently almost any device, merely through thought. “The initial focus will be on individuals who have lost limb functionality,” Musk added in his post on X.

In a tribute to the late British scientist Stephen Hawking, who suffered from motor neurone disease, Musk stated: “Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is our goal.”

Despite the high-profile nature of Musk’s involvement with Neuralink, the company faces stiff competition in the field. Blackrock Neurotech, based in Utah, has been implanting brain-computer interfaces since 2004. Additionally, Precision Neuroscience, established by a former Neuralink co-founder, is also developing technology to assist people with paralysis. Their implant, which resembles a slender piece of tape, rests on the brain’s surface and can be inserted through a “cranial micro-slit” – a procedure they claim is significantly simpler.