Elon Musk’s Neuralink Recieves FDA Approval For Human Study

Neuralink, the brain-chip company founded by Elon Musk, has announced that it has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to proceed with its first human tests. The company aims to restore vision and mobility by establishing a direct connection between the brain and computers.

A Big Step Forward

While Neuralink does not have immediate plans to recruit participants, this marks a significant milestone for the billionaire’s ambitious project.

Previous attempts by Musk to initiate human trials were unsuccessful. In March, Reuters reported that an earlier bid by Neuralink for FDA approval was rejected due to safety concerns, as stated by multiple current and former employees.

Neuralink’s vision revolves around utilising microchips to treat conditions such as paralysis and blindness, as well as assisting individuals with disabilities in using computers and mobile technology. These microchips, which have already been tested on monkeys, are designed to interpret brain signals and transmit information to external devices via Bluetooth.

The Company Must Exercise Caution

However, experts caution that Neuralink’s brain implants must undergo extensive testing to address both technical and ethical challenges before they can be widely available. Additionally, Musk has previously suggested that this technology could alleviate concerns about humans being displaced by artificial intelligence (AI).

Taking to Twitter, Neuralink announced the FDA approval, referring to it as an “important first step” towards helping numerous individuals with their technology. The company praised the collaborative efforts between its team and the FDA, while promising to share more details about its plans for trial participants in the near future. The Neuralink website emphasises that safety, accessibility, and reliability are top priorities during the engineering process.

Another Delay?

Neuralink, co-founded by Musk in 2016, has consistently overestimated the speed at which it can execute its plans. Initially, the company aimed to implant chips in human brains by 2020, following a pledge made the previous year.

Subsequently, it set a new target of commencing operations in 2022. However, the company faced setbacks in December of the previous year when it allegedly faced an investigation for animal welfare violations, although it had denied similar allegations before.

This announcement from Neuralink regarding FDA approval for human tests follows recent news of a significant breakthrough achieved by Swiss researchers in the field of brain implants. A paralysed man from the Netherlands was able to walk simply by using his thoughts, thanks to a wireless system of implants that transmitted his neural signals to his legs and feet.

Source: BBC