Neuralink wants 3 more quadriplegic patients for its brain control interface trial

Sign up for your turn with the R1 robot if you qualify

Elon Musk's Neuralink is recruiting another three subjects for its brain implant study.

The first patient received their implant in January. Neuralink was quick to show off evidence of the technology's effectiveness in March – at least in terms of the subject being able to play some games – before admitting this month that there were a few problems.

The study has been published in the US Clinical Trials database. The primary portion of the investigation is expected to be completed in 2026, with a completion date set for 2031. The trial is titled: "PRIME: An Early Feasibility Study of a Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface for the Control of External Devices."

Just being added to the Clinical Trials database does not imply approval by regulators, and Neuralink has come under fire for not sharing more information about the technology involved. However, the company's registration hints that more might be forthcoming as the trial progresses.

As for who is eligible to sign up for the attention of Musk's robot brain surgeon, Neuralink is seeking subjects aged from 22 to 75 with "Severe quadriplegia (tetraplegia) due to spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for at least one year without improvement, where quadriplegia is defined as having very limited or no hand, wrist, and arm movement and all levels below."

Healthy subjects are not wanted. Nor are the morbidly obese or anyone with an active device already implanted.

The implant involved is the N1 which will be implanted by the R1 robot, a "robotic electrode thread inserter," according to the treatment described in the study. As well as publishing tweet-friendly content detailing success stories, researchers will be on the lookout for adverse events in the 72 months following the procedure.

The principal investigator is Dr Francisco Ponce of the Barrow Neurological Institute, Arizona.

According to Neuralink, the N1 implant is designed to record neural activity through 1,024 electrodes distributed across 64 flexible leads, or "threads."

The threads are thinner than a human hair and are therefore tricky for humans to implant. As such, Neuralink uses a surgical robot – the R1 – to insert threads into the cortex near "neurons of interest." ®

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