Elon Musk has plenty of ambitious plans for the world: Trips to Mars via SpaceX. An “everything app” through Twitter. Brain implants capable of transmitting human thoughts via Neuralink.
This last goal, according to Musk, is one step closer to achieving it.
Co-founded by Musk in 2016, Neuralink plans to implant devices into the human brain that would allow people with neurological disorders to control computers or robotic limbs with their minds. Musk said he also wanted to “achieve some sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence” and possibly enable telepathic communication with the device.
Musk says human trials should begin in 2023 pending regulatory approval, but the company pushed back the start date earlier.
Here’s what we know about the company’s brain implant technology and its ambitions.
Neural link:Elon Musk touts brain implant technology to treat health issues and enable ‘telepathy’
What is Neuralink used for?
Neuralink’s brain-computer interface, or BCI, would allow people to wirelessly control a computer or mobile device “just by thinking about it,” according to the company’s website.
The technology is primarily focused on people with paralysis and other neurological disorders, although Neuralink wants to eventually roll out a product with non-medical applications.
Neuralink’s “show and tell”:What we know about the brain implant startup.
Is Neuralink FDA approved?
Neuralink has not yet obtained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to implant its technology in humans, but Musk says he expects approval in the near future.
The company has submitted most of the required documents to the FDA, the billionaire said at a “show and tell” event on Wednesday.
“We believe that in about six months we should be able to have our first Neuralink in a human,” Musk said, adding that he was eventually considering having it implanted himself.
But Musk and company have made incorrect predictions before.
In 2019, executives said they were aiming to start human clinical trials in 2020. In April, Musk said the company was on track to start with end of 2022.
Elon Musk’s Neuralink:Company plans to implant chips in human brain to treat neural disorders
What does Neuralink do?
Neuralink’s plan is to have a surgical robot insert a device into areas of the brain that control movement. The device would then process and transmit the neural signals and allow the user to control their keyboard and mouse with their thoughts.
Neuralink’s website says it aims to create a “safe, fully implanted, and cosmetically invisible” system.
Does Elon Musk own Neuralink?
Eight founding members, including Musk, launched Neuralink in 2016. Since then, all but Musk and one other co-founder have left, according to Reuters.
Musk also manages Twitter, Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company.
Does Neuralink test with monkeys?
According to the Neuralink website, the company works with monkeys and pigs.
Earlier this year, the animal rights nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a lawsuit against the University of California, Davis over brain experiments it conducted on 23 monkeys for Neuralink. .
The lawsuit accuses the university of failing to provide the dying monkeys with adequate veterinary care.
Neuralink euthanized eight animals, according to its website. Two were euthanized on the scheduled end dates for “significant histological data,” one due to device failure, four for suspected device-associated infections, and one for surgical complication with BioGlue.
Neuralink said it has developed new surgical protocols for future surgeries in response.
“We are absolutely committed to working with animals in the most humane and ethical way possible,” Neuralink said in the blog post. “While the facilities and care at UC Davis meets and continues to meet federal standards, we absolutely wanted to improve those standards when transitioning animals to our in-house facilities.”
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