I predicted the fate of Neuralink

Common problems with attempts to implant chronic electrodes — especially the ones with exceptionally fine wires — are the accumulation of scar tissue, that is the buildup of connective tissue, and shifting of the placement. You’re sticking delicate wires into a mass of reactive gelatin, inside a hard bony capsule, and the goo can shift. So it’s no surprise that Neuralink is not holding up.

Elon Musk’s neurotech startup Neuralink said Wednesday it has run into problems with a brain chip it implanted into a 29-year-old quadriplegic man earlier this year, with the issues considered so serious, it reportedly considered having the implant removed entirely.

In a blog post announcing the issues, Neuralink said its test patient, Noland Arbaugh, has begun losing the ability to efficiently control some technology using only his thoughts—the entire selling point of Neuralink.

Neuralink said those failures were caused by some of the implant’s 64 threads retracting and becoming unusable. It didn’t specify how many of the threads—the microscopic links that transport his brain signals to a chip that allows him to control technology with his mind—were impacted, nor did it say what caused the error.

I can guess what caused the error: biology and time. I’m sure those two things are trivial problems for Elon Musk to defeat, once he overcomes his other great enemy, carwashes.


  1. crimsonsage says

    I imagine the body would try and encapsulate/encyst it like any other foreign body inserted into it. Atleast with like a joint replacement or a plate you just need it to stay in place, not have a very specific and intricate interface.

  2. Tethys says

    It doesn’t take much predictive power to know that anything implanted in the brain is not going to remain in place like actual living nerves.

    The body is going to see it as foreign matter and attack it, which is something you really don’t want happening inside the brain.

  3. david says

    Perhaps this outcome could have been predicted from adequate animal experiments. If only the test animals had been treated properly…

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Apart from titanium I do not know any conductive sunstance that might be tolerated by the body.
    It is as if biotech is literally harder than rocket science.

Leave a Reply