Elon Musk’s brain-chip startup, Neuralink, announced on Tuesday that it has received approval from an independent review board to commence recruitment for its first human trial involving a brain-computer interface (BCI) implant. This groundbreaking study will utilize a robot to surgically place the BCI implant in the part of the brain responsible for controlling intentions to move.
Individuals suffering from paralysis due to cervical spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be eligible for participation in this trial, although the exact number of participants remains undisclosed. The trial is anticipated to span approximately six years.
The primary objective of the study is to empower individuals to control a computer cursor or keyboard solely through their thoughts, as explained by Neuralink.
Previously, the company had aimed to secure approval for implanting its device in ten patients but adjusted this number during negotiations with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to safety concerns raised by the agency, according to statements from current and former employees. The specific number of patients approved by the FDA remains undisclosed.
Elon Musk has expressed ambitious aspirations for Neuralink, envisioning its chip devices as a means to swiftly address various conditions, including obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia through surgical insertions.
In May, Neuralink disclosed receiving FDA clearance for its first-in-human clinical trial, while it was already under federal scrutiny for its handling of animal testing. Experts suggest that even if the BCI device proves safe for human use, it may still take over a decade for the startup to obtain commercial use clearance.”