Neuralink owner Elon Musk said that paperwork for human trials has been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which he claims could lead to human trials of the company’s brain implant technology “in about six months.”
Neuralink, which Musk founded in 2016, is developing a system that connects the human brain directly to a computer interface. Some believe that technology implanted directly into the brain will one day allow the human mind to control devices and programs through mere thought, potentially opening up a whole new world for people with conditions like brain disorders and strokes.
In April 2021, Neuralink demonstrated early trials of the technology by showing a monkey playing a game of Pong just by thinking.
This time, at a special show-and-tell event Wednesday evening, a new video showed a different monkey using thought processes to move the mouse cursor around the keyboard while also making choices to form words. Describing the monkey’s actions as “telepathic typing,” Musk said the show made it more likely to be “someone with no connection to the outside world.” [being able] to better control their phone than someone with working hands. You can watch the monkey in action in the video below:
Musk said he believes the Neuralink technology is now at a point where human trials will be safe, and he went so far as to say that if one of his own children had an accident where Neuralink technology could potentially help, he would “feel comfortable” to continue. the implant would not be dangerous, at least in my view.
The Neuralink co-founder has previously said that future more advanced versions of the technology could function to enable paraplegics to walk again.
But, of course, regulators will have the final word on its use, hoping to get the green light from the FDA to take Neuralink technology to the next level.
Musk was also keen to voice concerns about animal welfare during the presentation. He described the monkeys used by Neuralink as “happy” and said they were “not strapped to a chair” while performing tasks that included regular food-based rewards. Before considering implanting a Neuralink device inside an animal’s brain, he said, “We do everything we can with rigorous over-the-counter testing, so we’re not inept at implanting devices into animals. We’re extremely careful and always want the device to be confirmatory, not exploratory, every time we implant it. “