Elon Musk says first Neuralink patient can control a computer mouse with thoughts

What are the pros and cons of neural implants?

What are the pros and cons of neural implants? 06:54

The first person with a brain chip implanted by Neuralink appears to have recovered and can control a computer mouse using their thoughts, according to Elon Musk, the company’s founder. 

“Progress is good and the patient seems to have made a full recovery, with no ill effects that we are aware of. Patient is able to move a mouse around the screen just by thinking,” Musk said late Monday in a Spaces event on his social media platform X. 

The company implanted a chip in its first human patient in January, Musk wrote in a social media post last month. 

In September, the startup said it had received approval from U.S. regulators to recruit human beings for the trial as part of its focus to use its technology to help those with traumatic injuries operate computers using just their thoughts.

The identity of the first patient hasn’t been released, although Neuralink last year said it was searching for individuals with quadriplegia due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, for its trials.

The current trial involved implanting a brain-computer interface in a part of the brain that relays an intention to move, Neuralink has said.

The Hastings Center, a nonpartisan research institute, earlier this month published a blog post lambasting what it called “science by press release,” referring to Neuralink’s approach to releasing information. The center said that it believed “an unprecedented experiment involving a vulnerable person” should include formal reporting to the public. 

“When the person paying for a human experiment with a huge financial stake in the outcome is the sole source of information, basic ethical standards have not been met,” Arthur Caplan, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jonathan Moreno, an ethics professor at the university, wrote in the blog post published by the center. 

Even though Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require reporting for early feasibility studies of medical devices, the surgeons, neuroscientists and nurses involved in the trial have a moral responsibility to provide transparency, Caplan and Moreno added. 

“A technical regulatory veil does not shield them from the ethical obligations of transparency to avoid the risk of giving false hope to countless thousands of people with serious neurological disabilities,” they added.

Neuralink did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

—With reporting by the Associated Press.

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Kate Gibson

Kate Gibson is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch in New York.

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