Neuralink is preparing for human clinical trials for its brain chip. Billionaire, Elon Musk co-founded the company in 2016. Musk said, the chip enables “someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.”
Successful implantation of Neuralink’s brain chip has been done in both a pig and a macaque monkey. Previously, the tech company shared a video of a macaque monkey playing pong using only its mind and the implant. If successful in humans, the potential this device could offer those who have paralysis is immeasurable.
The company is currently searching for a clinical trial director to oversee the upcoming clinical trial. According to the job listing, the clinical trial director will “work closely with some of the most innovative doctors and top engineers, as well as working with Neuralink’s first clinical trial participants.” The job’s responsibilities include supporting Neuralink clinical trials and timely monitoring of participants to ensure their welfare and safety.
Musk told the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council summit, “We hope to have this in our first humans, which will be people that have severe spinal cord injuries like tetraplegics, quadriplegics, next year, pending FDA approval.” Yet, Elon Musk has given false predictions about the company’s timeline before, stating in 2019 that the chip would be implanted into humans by 2020.
The Brain Chip And Other Emerging Medical Technologies
While Musk’s brain chip is yet to face human testing, other innovative medical technologies are closer to reaching the public. For instance, researchers recently developed a smart T-shirt that monitors breathing patterns.
“I think we have a chance with Neuralink to restore full-body functionality to someone who has a spinal cord injury.” Musk went on to say, “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.” Musk also promises the device will feel natural as it will fit smoothly against the skull.
Musk went on to say in a Twitter post, “Replacing faulty/missing neurons with circuits is the right way to think about it. Many problems can be solved just bridging signals between existing neurons. Progress will accelerate when we have devices in humans (hard to have nuanced conversations with monkeys) next year.”