Elon Musk Says First Neuralink Patient Can Move Computer Cursor With Mind

Elon Musk says the first human user of his startup Neuralink’s brain implant can now move a mouse cursor using their mind alone.

Last September, the company announced it had started recruiting for the first clinical trial of its device after receiving clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration earlier in the year.

In a discussion on his social media platform X last week, Musk announced the company’s first patient was already able to control a cursor roughly a month after implantation.

“Progress is good, patient seems to have made a full recoveryand is able to control the mouse, move the mouse around the screen just by thinking,” Musk said, according to CNN. “We’re trying to get as many button presses as possible from thinking, so that’s what we’re currently working on.”

Controlling a cursor with a brain implant is nothing new-an academic team achieved the same feat as far back as 2006.

Competitor Synchron, which makes a BMI that is implanted through the brain’s blood vessels, has been running a trial since 2021 in which volunteers have been able to control computers and smartphones using their mind alone.

Musk’s announcement nonetheless represents rapid progress for a company that only unveiled its first prototype in 2019.

That’s because each chip features 1,024 electrodes split between 64 threads thinner than a human hair that are inserted into the brain by a “Sewing machine-like” robot.

“Higher resolution brain interfaces that are fully wireless and allow two-way communication with the brain are going to have a lot of potential uses.”

In the initial clinical trial, the device’s electrodes will be implanted in a brain region associated with motor control.

Musk has espoused much more ambitious goals for the technology, such as treating psychiatric disorders like depression, allowing people to control advanced prosthetic limbs, or even making it possible to eventually merge our minds with computers.

Decoding anything more complicated than basic motor signals or speech will likely require recording from many more neurons in different regions, most likely using multiple implants.