In May 2023, the American neurotechnology company Neuralink, founded by Elon Musk, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first clinical trial of its technology in humans.
After receiving a clean chit from the US FDA, Elon Musk’s startup is gearing up to start human trials in the coming months. A clinical trial of Neuralink’s brain implant will require volunteers to get a chunk of their skull replaced by a surgeon with a brain chip that’s meant to stay there for years.
The brain chip will read and analyze the person’s brain activity, and even transfer the information wirelessly to a nearby laptop or tablet
In September, Neuralink opened enrollment for a trial of an implantable wireless brain-computer interface (BCI). The company is looking for people with quadriplegia (paralysis of the arms and legs) due to a cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The goal is to create a device that will allow paralyzed people to communicate or play games using only their thoughts.
To date, Neuralink has not yet implanted its devices in people, but plans to operate on 11 people next year and more than 22 thousand by 2030. According to Bloomberg, there may be many more people interested.
Neuralink operates as a neurotechnology company and is developing a brain-computer interface, or BCI, to collect brain signals. BCI will also function to analyse the data and translate them into commands to control an external device.
In the Bloomberg article, author Ashlee Vance, who also happens to be Elon Musk’s biographer, said that he visited Neuralink’s facilities 10 times in three years. He also said that the company has yet to implant its device in a human brain. However, it plans to begin its trial on 11 people next year and on more than 22,000 by 2030.