Neuralink, one of Elon Musk’s companies, announced on Twitter Thursday that it has received approval from US health officials to test its connected brain implants on humans.
“This is an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people,” the Californian company said on its Twitter account, adding that “recruitment for clinical trials is not yet open.”
Neuralink designs connected devices that can be implanted in the brain to communicate directly with computers through thought.
They were first used to help people suffering from paralysis or neurological diseases. The company wants to make these implants safe and reliable enough to qualify as elective (comfort) surgery. People can pay a few thousand dollars to give their brains computer power.
For Elon Musk, these chips must allow humanity to “coexist with AI,” in his words, presented at the company’s annual meeting starting in 2020.
“We now believe NeuraLink’s device is ready for humans, so the timeline depends on the FDA approval process,” he said on Twitter in late November, a month after acquiring the social network.
He runs and/or owns other companies, including Tesla and SpaceX.
The billionaire has risky predictions, especially about the autonomy of Tesla’s electric cars.
In July 2019, he predicted that Neuralink could conduct its first tests on people in 2020.
So far, coin-sized specimens have been implanted into animal skulls.
Many monkeys can “play” video games or “type” words on the screen by following the movement of a cursor on the screen with their eyes.
Other companies are working on controlling computers with thought, such as Synchron, which announced in July 2022 that it had installed the first brain-machine interface in the United States.