Musk startup Neuralink says it has been cleared to test human brain implants


Elon Musk’s startup Neuralink announced Thursday that it has received approval from US regulators to test its brain implants in humans.

Neuralink said the approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its first-ever human clinical study was an “important first step” for its technology, which aims to enable a direct brain-computer interface.

In a post on Musk’s Twitter account, Neuralink said it was “thrilled to share that we have received FDA approval to initiate a first-in-human clinical study.”

Neuralink says it has not yet started recruiting clinical trials.

The purpose of the Neuralink implant is to allow the human brain to communicate directly with a computer, Musk said at the startup’s presentation in December.

At the time, he said, “We’ve worked hard to prepare the first-in-human (implants), but naturally we took great care before inserting the device into a human being to make sure it would work. I want to be sure,” he said.

The Neuralink prototype is about the size of a coin, Implanted in a monkey’s skulla demonstration by a startup was shown.

In its presentation, Neuralink showed several monkeys “playing” basic video games and moving cursors across the screen via Neuralink implants.

The technology has also been tested on pigs.

Early demonstrations showed the replacement of a portion of the skull with a Neuralink disc and the strategic insertion of thin wires into the brain with the help of a surgical robot.

According to Musk, the disc records neural activity and relays the information to smartphones and other devices via common Bluetooth radio signals.

“It actually fits the skull very well,” Musk said in an earlier presentation.

“It might be under your hair, but you won’t notice it.”

Musk said the company uses implants to restore vision and human movement A person who has lost that ability.

“First, we’re going to make it possible for people with little muscle control to be able to use their phones faster than people who can use their hands,” he said.

“It may sound miraculous, but we believe it is possible to restore full-body function in people who have had their spinal cords cut,” he said.

Beyond potential cures for neurological disorders, Musk said his ultimate goal is to prevent humans from being intellectually overwhelmed by artificial intelligence (AI).

Other companies developing similar systems Includes Synchronannounced in July that it had embedded the first human-brain-machine interface in the United States.

Neuralink team members could go from technology that restores mobility to a paralyzed person and sight to a blind person, to telepathy and the ability to upload memories for future reference, or possibly download them to a replacer. They share a ‘wish list’, ranging from technology to making things easier.

Musk, meanwhile, recently founded a business dedicated to developing advanced AI. Tesla’s president also predicted that the electric car maker’s self-driving technology is headed in a revolutionary direction.

Musk argued that synchronizing our minds with machines is essential to avoid AI overtaking humans and, under the best of circumstances, equating humans to “house cats.”

Experts and academics remain wary of his vision of a symbiotic fusion of the mind and superpowered computing.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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