The first human study of Neuralink’s brain chip has been approved, according to the company’s creator Elon Musk. The brain implant will be tested in a six-year research aimed at paralysis sufferers, the neurotechnology business said on Tuesday. Patient recruitment has been authorised.
Reuters reports that people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or neck injuries who are paralysed may participate in the clinical study for a brain implant. The purpose of the research is to evaluate the implant’s effectiveness and safety in enabling users to mentally manipulate a computer mouse or keyboard. The researchers will do this by surgically implanting the device in a region of the brain that regulates movement using a robot.
The researchers have not yet revealed how many participants will be enlisted in the study, which will take around six years to complete. However, the business’s first goal was to get permission to implant its gadget in 10 patients. According to current and former workers, however, talks between the business and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) resulted in a decrease in the intended number of patients in response to safety concerns voiced by the FDA. The precise number of people who received FDA approval is yet unknown.
Even though the business was already the subject of a federal probe for how it handled animal testing when it earlier announced in May that the FDA had approved its first-in-human clinical study. Experts predict that it might take more than ten years for the business to obtain clearance to sell the BCI device commercially, even if it is determined to be safe for human use.
For those who don’t know, Neuralink is a neurotechnology business that Elon Musk launched in 2016. The company’s main objective is to create an implanted brain-computer interface (BCI) that can convert ideas into deeds. In other words, Neuralink wants to create a BCI that can be used to replace lost brain functions and control outside objects like computers or prosthetic limbs.
Despite being in its early phases of development, Neuralink has achieved some notable strides. A functional BCI that may be used to direct a computer cursor with a monkey’s thoughts was shown by Neuralink in 2020. The business is now developing a BCI that can be implanted in people.
Elon Musk, meantime, has grand aspirations for the Neuralink brain processor. According to the billionaire, it might be used to swiftly implant chip devices for the treatment of ailments like obesity, autism, melancholy, and schizophrenia.