The neurotechnology firm established by Elon Musk is poised to initiate the recruitment of patients for testing the safety and effectiveness of its implantable brain chip, aimed at enabling individuals to manipulate a computer cursor or keyboard through their thoughts.

In Brief Neuralink, founded by Elon Musk in 2016, has gained approval for its inaugural human trial involving a brain chip. The specific count of participating patients remains undisclosed. Elon Musk, the creator of Neuralink, has secured approval for the company’s maiden human trial featuring its brain chip. Neuralink disclosed its approval to commence patient recruitment for a six-year-long research initiative primarily concentrating on individuals affected by paralysis.

As reported by Reuters, the clinical trial for this brain implant may encompass individuals with paralysis stemming from neck injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The trial’s objective is to assess the safety and efficacy of the implant in facilitating computer cursor or keyboard control via neural signals. For this purpose, the researchers intend to utilize a robotic procedure to surgically position the implant in a brain region governing movement.

The study’s duration is estimated to be approximately six years, although the precise number of participants has yet to be revealed. Initially, the company had set out to obtain approval for implanting the device in ten patients. However, negotiations with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) led to a reduction in the proposed patient count, a response to safety concerns raised by the FDA, according to both current and former employees. The precise number of patients sanctioned by the FDA remains undisclosed.

Earlier in May, the company had announced FDA approval for its first-ever human clinical trial, even as it was already subject to federal scrutiny regarding its handling of animal testing. Even if the brain-computer interface (BCI) device is established as safe for human use, experts suggest that it may still require over a decade to secure commercial approval for sale.

For those unfamiliar, Neuralink is a neurotechnology enterprise initiated by Elon Musk in 2016. The company’s core mission centers on the development of an implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) capable of translating thoughts into actionable commands. In essence, Neuralink aims to create a BCI enabling control over external devices, such as prosthetic limbs or computers, as well as the restoration of lost brain functions.

While Neuralink is still in its early developmental stages, the firm has achieved notable milestones. In 2020, Neuralink showcased a functional BCI that enabled the manipulation of a computer cursor using a monkey’s thoughts. Presently, the company is actively working on a BCI designed for human implantation.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk harbors ambitious plans for the Neuralink brain chip, envisioning its application in swiftly implanting chip devices for the treatment of conditions like obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia.

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