Elon Musk, CEO of Neuralink, a startup developing brain-interface technology, has stated that he anticipates human trials of the company’s microchips to begin in 2019.
Musk co-founded Neuralink in 2016, and the company is working on a chip that might be placed in people’s brains to monitor and influence their mental processes. In the medical field, it is hoped that it may be used to cure conditions including paralysis and spinal cord injuries.
On Monday, at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit, Musk was asked during a live interview what Neuralink had planned for 2022.
Musk has claimed, “Neuralink’s working well in monkeys and we’re actually doing just a lot of testing and just confirming that it’s very safe and reliable and the Neuralink device can be removed safely.”
He continued, “We hope to have this in our first humans next year; that is, people who have severe spinal cord injuries like tetraplegics, and quadriplegics, provided of course that the FDA approves it.”
According to Musk, Neuralink has “standards for implanting the device that is substantially higher than what the FDA requires.”
In a tweet, Musk reiterated the 2022 deadline. Next year, when gadgets are implanted in people (it’s difficult to have sophisticated conversations with monkeys), he predicts rapid advancement.
Musk has previously stated prior timeframes for the first human Neuralink chip implantation. In February, he predicted that Neuralink would be ready to begin human trials with the technology by the end of 2021. As of 2019, Musk had stated that Neuralink aimed to start human testing before the end of 2020.
Musk is notorious for making ambitious promises but falling short of actual completion times. A video of a monkey utilizing a Neuralink device to play a video game was released in April.
Neuralink announced in July that it had raised $205 million and planned to use the money to further develop its technology, which would enable quadriplegics to use their brains to operate digital gadgets.
Paralysis of all four limbs (quadriplegia or tetraplegia) can be complete or partial. There is more than just Neuralink working on brain-computer interfaces. Synchron, a biotech company with 20 employees, was given the green light to begin human testing in July.
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Neuralink, led by Elon Musk, plans to conduct human trials of its brain-interface microchips in 2022, targeting quadriplegics with spinal cord injuries. While Musk has set ambitious goals, past deadlines have been missed.
Nonetheless, the development of brain-computer interfaces holds promise for medical applications, and other companies are also working in this field.
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