San Francisco: Elon Musk’s start-up Neuralink said on Thursday that it has received approval from US regulators to test brain implants in people.
Neuralink said the approval of its first in-human clinical study from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an important first step for its technology, which aims to connect the brain directly to the computer.
In a post on Twitter operated by Musk, Neuralink said that we are excited to share that we have received FDA approval to begin our first human clinical study.
This is the result of the excellent work done by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA.
According to Neuralink, enrollment for the clinical trial is not yet open.
The Neuralink implant aims to enable the human brain to communicate directly with a computer, Musk said during a presentation by the start-up in December.
“We are working hard to get our (implant) ready for our first human, and obviously we want to be very careful and make sure it works well before we put the device into a human. Will do.
Musk – who bought Twitter late last year and also owns SpaceX, Tesla and several other companies – is known for making ambitious predictions about his companies, many of which ultimately fail.
In July 2019, he promised that Neuralink would be able to conduct its first human trials in 2020.
Product prototypes, which are about the size of a coin, have been implanted into the skulls of monkeys, a demonstration by the startup showed.
In a Neuralink presentation, the company showed several monkeys “playing” basic video games on a screen or moving a cursor through their Neuralink implants.
Musk said the company would use the implant to restore sight and mobility to humans who have lost such abilities.
“We will initially enable someone who has almost no ability to operate their muscles… and enable them to operate their phone faster than a person with no hands,” he said.
“As a miracle as it sounds, we believe it is possible to restore full body functionality to a person with a spinal fracture,” he said.
He added that beyond the potential to treat neurological diseases, Musk’s ultimate goal is to ensure that humans are not intellectually overwhelmed by artificial intelligence.
Other companies working on similar systems include Synchron, which announced in July that it had implemented the first brain-machine interface in the United States.
What is Neuralink?
Neuralink is a chip that seeks to help people with neurological and physical disabilities through its Bluetooth-enabled implantation. Let us tell you that Musk’s company was working on the technology of thousands of electrode drops thinner than a hair on the outer surface of the brain.
Each electrode is a tiny wire connected to a battery-powered, remotely rechargeable, quarter-size chip package that surrounds the skull. This chip can communicate wirelessly with the outside world.