Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO and entrepreneur behind Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink, has announced that his company is set to begin human clinical trials of its wireless brain chip in just six months. The device, developed by Neuralink, is the size of a coin and could potentially allow paralyzed patients to move and communicate again, as well as restoring vision. The chip interfaces directly with the brain and has been tested on animals in recent years as the company seeks approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin clinical trials.
In a much-awaited public update on the device, Musk emphasized the need for caution when testing the device in human patients. “We want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work well before putting a device into a human,” he said. “The progress at first, particularly as it applies to humans, will seem perhaps agonizingly slow, but we are doing all of the things to bring it to scale in parallel. So, in theory, progress should be exponential.”
Neuralink’s ambitions are nothing short of grand, with the ultimate goal of developing a chip that allows the brain to control complex electronic devices and restore motor function to people with paralysis. The device may also have potential applications in treating brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Musk has even talked about the possibility of melding the brain with artificial intelligence.
However, despite Musk’s lofty goals and the potential of the technology, Neuralink is currently running behind schedule. Musk originally aimed to receive regulatory approval for human trials by the end of 2020, and while he stated at a conference in late 2021 that he hoped to begin trials this year, the company has repeatedly missed internal deadlines for gaining FDA approval.
Neuralink’s slow progress has reportedly led Musk to approach rival company Synchron about a potential investment. Synchron has already moved forward with human trials of its own brain interface, which allows paralyzed patients to wirelessly control digital devices through thought. The neural implant used by Synchron doesn’t require open brain surgery and is instead threaded through a small slit in the neck up through the jugular vein and pushed into the brain. The company has already completed studies in four people in Australia and crossed a major milestone in July by implanting its device in a patient in the United States for the first time.
Despite the challenges facing Neuralink, Musk remains confident in the potential of the technology. “Even if someone has never had vision, ever, like they were born blind, we believe we can still restore vision,” he said. With the potential to revolutionize the lives of paralyzed patients and people suffering from neurological disorders, the development of brain chip technology is an exciting and rapidly evolving field.
Source: Rajkotupdates.news : Elon musk in 2022 neuralink start to implantation of brain chips in humans