Elon Musk said Wednesday that a wireless device developed by Neuralink for brain chips is expected to begin human clinical trials within six months.
The company is developing brain chip interfaces that it says could enable disabled patients to move and communicate again. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin, Texas, Neuralink In recent years it has been conducting animal tests as it seeks approval from US regulators to begin human clinical trials.
“We want to be very careful and sure it’s going to work well before we put a device in a human, but we’ve submitted most of our paperwork to the FDA, and maybe in about six months we’ll be able to load Neuralink into a device that’s long overdue,” Musk said during a long-awaited public update of the device.
The event was originally planned for October 31 however musk It was postponed only a few days ago, without giving a reason.
Neuralink’s last public demonstration, over a year ago, involved a monkey with a brain chip that played a computer game by thinking on its own.
Musk is known for his lofty goals such as colonizing Mars and saving humanity. His ambitions for Neuralink, which he launched in 2016, were on an equally grand scale. He wants to develop a chip that would allow the brain to control complex electronic devices and eventually allow paralyzed people to restore motor function and treat brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s. He also talks about integrating the brain with artificial intelligence.
However, Neuralink is behind schedule. Musk said in a 2019 presentation that he aims to get regulatory approval by the end of 2020. He then said at a conference in late 2021 that he hopes to start human trials this year.
Current and former employees said Neuralink has repeatedly missed internal deadlines for obtaining approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin human trials. Musk spoke with competitor Synchron earlier this year about a potential investment after he expressed frustration with Neuralink employees about their slow progress, Reuters reported in August.
Synchrony crossed a major milestone in July by implanting its device in a patient in the United States for the first time. She received US regulatory clearance for human trials in 2021 and completed four human studies in Australia.
© Thomson Reuters 2022