Neurotechnology company Neuralink is gearing up to begin human trials for the implantable brain-machine microchip. The company was founded by billionaire Elon Musk and Max Hodak in July 2016 and is reportedly ready to start clinical trials in humans.
Initially, Elon Musk anticipated that the first human implant would be ready by 2020 but failed to deliver on his projected timeline. Regardless, Neuralink's recent strides mark a massive advancement in tech innovation.
Elon Musk's Neuralink moves to human trials
In a statement on Twitter, Musk said that Neuralink would "enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs." Beyond this, Neuralink might also allow surgeons to operate on diseases affecting the brain, which would be a medical breakthrough, particularly for complex procedures.
In April 2021, the company successfully implanted an artificial intelligence brain chip in a nine-year-old macaque called Pager. In a video uploaded onto YouTube, Neuralink showcased how the macaque learned how to interact with a computer and play MindPong with its mind.
In the video, the narrator explained that the Neuralink chip could be paired to an iPhone like you would pair it to a Bluetooth speaker. We've embedded it below if you haven't already seen the video. It is simply amazing to watch.
Last month, Elon Musk told the Wall Street Journal that he hopes to have the first human test subjects, "which will be people that have severe spinal cord injuries like tetraplegics [and] quadriplegics" chipped next year, pending approval by the FDA.
Musk was also optimistic about Neuralink's ability to "restore full-body functionality" to paraplegic humans. According to the billionaire entrepreneur, "Neuralink is working well in monkeys and [the company is] actually doing a lot of testing" to confirm its safety and reliability in humans.
Neuralink is currently recruiting a clinical trials director. According to the job listing, the successful candidate will "work closely with some of the most innovative doctors and tp engineers, as well as working with Neuralink's first clinical trial participants."
"You will lead and help build the team responsible for enabling Neuralink’s clinical research activities and developing the regulatory interactions that come with a fast-paced and ever-evolving environment," the listing further noted.
Neuralink is pushing the boundaries of human ingenuity and continues to amaze me.
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Featured image courtesy of Elon Musk / Twitter.