Neuralink, the brain implant company founded by Elon Musk, has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct human trials, marking a significant milestone for the company. Neuralink aims to enhance human cognition and address various medical conditions, such as paralysis and blindness, by implanting a chip into the skull of subjects.
The approval comes after a previous application was denied by the FDA in early 2022. However, the company persisted in its efforts, and now the FDA has granted clearance for human testing. Neuralink expressed its excitement and gratitude for the approval, acknowledging the dedicated work of its team in collaboration with the FDA.
Elon Musk, the visionary behind Neuralink, has long been vocal about his ambition to restore full body functionality to individuals with severe injuries, particularly those with severed spinal cords. With the FDA’s approval, Neuralink is one step closer to realizing this vision and potentially helping many people in the future.
While Neuralink has not yet begun recruiting participants for the trials, Musk’s confidence in the safety of the device was evident when he stated that he would be willing to implant the chip into the brains of his own children. Demonstrations have shown prototypes of the Neuralink implant, which are about the size of an average coin, successfully implanted in the skulls of monkeys. The implant detects nerve activity and transmits the information to an external device, such as a smartphone, using Bluetooth technology.
In addition to addressing mobility and vision impairments, Neuralink envisions potential benefits for individuals with conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, and autism. Musk even speculates that the technology could serve as a utility for web browsing and enable telepathic communication between subjects.
It’s important to note that Neuralink has faced scrutiny in the past due to allegations of animal welfare violations during its testing phase. Reports indicated that about 1,500 animals, including monkeys, sheep, and pigs, were killed iced during the initial stages of development.
The approval for human trials marks a significant milestone for Neuralink, bringing the potential of brain implant technology one step closer to reality. As the company moves forward, it will be crucial to address ethical concerns and ensure the safety and well-being of both human participants and the animals involved in the development process.
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