Musk startup Neuralink says it’s been cleared to test brain implants in humans

Elon Musk’s startup Neuralink said Thursday it has received approval from US regulators to test brain implants in people.

Neuralink said the clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for its first human clinical study is “an important first step” for its technology, which aims to enable the brain to interface directly with computers.

“We are very excited to announce that we have received FDA approval to begin our first clinical study in humans,” Neuralink said in a post on Musk’s Twitter account.

According to Neuralink, recruitment for the clinical trial is not yet open.

NeuralLink implants aim to enable human brains to communicate directly with computers, Musk said during a presentation by the startup in December.

“We’re working hard to be ready for our first human[implant]and obviously we want to be very careful and make sure it works well before we implant the device in a human,” he said at the time. Will.”

NeuralLink prototypes, which are about the size of a coin, have been made Mounted in the skulls of monkeysstartup demonstrations were shown.

In one presentation, Neuralink showed several monkeys “playing” basic video games or moving a cursor on a screen through its Neuralink implant.

The technology has also been tested in pigs.

With the help of a surgical robot, a piece of skull is replaced with a neural disc, and its wispy wires are strategically inserted into the brain, a preliminary demonstration shows.

According to Musk, the disc registers neural activity, transmitting the information to a smartphone-like device via a standard Bluetooth wireless signal.

“It actually fits in your skull pretty well,” Musk said during an earlier presentation.

“It could be under your hair and you wouldn’t know it.”

Musk said the company would try to use the implants to restore sight. Movement in humans who had lost such abilities.

“We’re going to initially enable someone who has almost no muscle control … and enable them to use their phone more than someone with a working hand,” he said. can run faster,” he said.

“As miraculous as it may sound, we believe it is possible to restore full body function to someone who has suffered a spinal cord fracture,” he said.

Beyond the potential to treat neurological diseases, Musk’s ultimate goal is to ensure that humans are not overpowered by artificial intelligence (AI), he said.

Other companies working on similar systems Includes Synchronwhich announced in July that it had implanted the first human-brain-machine interface in the United States.

Neurallink team members have shared a “wish list” that ranges from returning the technology to mobility for the paralyzed and blind, to enabling telepathy and uploading memories for later reference. — or perhaps to be downloaded to alternative entities.

Meanwhile, Musk recently founded a business dedicated to developing cutting-edge AI. Tesla’s boss has also predicted that autonomous driving technology is on the way to a breakthrough at the electric car maker.

Musk has claimed that if humans are to avoid being so overtaken by AI, brain synchronization with machines is essential that humans would be like “house cats” under the best of circumstances.

Experts and academics are wary of his vision of symbolically merging minds with superpower computing.

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