• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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What to know about Elon Musk’s brain implant company

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The idea of having a surveillance chip in the brain is inching closer to reality as Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain implant company, pursues the development in first human clinical trials.

The company announced it is recruiting for the trials, with sights on creating a fully implantable, wireless brain-computer interface for people with paralysis.

A robot will be used to surgically place the implant’s ultra-fine and flexible threads into the brain, and the implant is supposed to record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that decodes movement intention, according to Neuralink.

The study will take about six years to complete, according to its brochure.

The company has raised over $1 billion in funding since its founding in 2016 and Musk himself has invested an undisclosed amount that is estimated to be in multiple millions of dollars.

The brain-chip startup on Tuesday said it has received approval from an independent review board to begin recruitment for the trial in paralysis patients.

Those with paralysis due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may qualify for the study, it said but did not reveal how many participants would be enrolled in the trial.

Neuralink said its initial goal is to enable people to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.

Read also:Elon Musk borrowed $1bn from SpaceX during Twitter deal says WSJ

The company, which had earlier hoped to receive approval to implant its device in 10 patients, was negotiating a lower number of patients with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the agency raised safety concerns, according to current and former employees, according to Reuters.

It is not known how many patients the FDA ultimately approved.

Another goal Musk aims to achieve with the project is to facilitate speedy surgical insertions of its chip devices to treat conditions like obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia.

In May, the company said it had received clearance from the FDA for its first-in-human clinical trial when it was already under federal scrutiny for its handling of animal testing.

Even if the BCI device proves to be safe for human use, it would still potentially take more than a decade for the startup to secure commercial use clearance for it, according to experts.