Neuralink, a brain-chip startup founded by billionaire businessman Elon Musk, announced on Tuesday that it has been given the go-ahead to start recruiting for the first human trial of its brain implant for paralysis patients.
It stated that those with paralysis brought on by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or cervical spinal cord damage may be eligible for the study, but it did not specify how many people will sign up for the trial, which will last for around six years.
The study’s primary objective, according to Neuralink, is to make it possible for people to operate a computer cursor or keyboard just with their thoughts. To achieve this, a brain-computer interface (BCI) implant will be surgically implanted in a part of the brain that governs the intention to move.
According to current and former employees, the company was negotiating a smaller number of patients with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the agency expressed safety concerns. The company had previously intended to gain approval to implant its device in 10 people. How many patients the FDA finally authorized is unknown.
Musk claims that Neuralink would enable quick surgical insertions of its chip devices to cure illnesses like obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia. Musk has high hopes for Neuralink.
When it was already under federal examination for its treatment of animal testing, the business announced in May that it had gotten approval from the FDA for its first-in-human clinical trial.
Experts predict that it could take the startup more than ten years to obtain commercial use permission for the BCI device, even if it turns out to be safe for human usage.