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Neuralink ready to take its brain chip for human trials

Clinical trials are being prepared to implant chips into people’s brains that may allow those with spinal cord injuries to regain movement.

Elon Musk’s co-founded a neurotech startup, Neuralink, is working on some extremely fascinating-sounding tech to aid humanity, according to The Guardian. Musk argues that the company’s chips, which are set to go into human testing, will “allow someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using their thumbs.”

Last year, Neuralink demonstrated this technology by wiring a monkey’s brain to play Pong. Pager, a macaque, also performs a pretty excellent job. It was a reassuring demonstration of developing technology. Neuralink is now looking for a clinical trial director to oversee the next phase of the process, human studies.

“As the clinical trial director, you’ll work closely with some of the most innovative doctors and top engineers, as well as working with Neuralink’s first clinical trial participants,” the advert for the role in Fremont, California, says. “You will lead and help build the team responsible for enabling Neuralink’s clinical research activities and developing the regulatory interactions that come with a fast-paced and ever-evolving environment.”

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At the best of circumstances, it’s difficult to take the world’s richest man seriously. One day, he’ll be promoting potentially life-changing technology like this, and the next, he’ll be getting into some bizarre unwarranted Twitter feud, or showing something like the similarly bizarre cyber track from a few years ago. Musk also previously stated that these implants would be implanted in people by 2020, but considering the past few years, I’m willing to give him a pass on that.

“I think we have a chance with Neuralink to restore full-body functionality to someone who has a spinal cord injury. 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.”

If Neuralink’s human trials are successful, it’s expected that development will go considerably more quickly as a result of the enhanced feedback. So, ideally, it won’t be long before this technology is available to individuals who require it. It may well shake up the gaming scene in the future if it can assist a monkey to become that adept at Pong.

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Nivedita Bangari
Nivedita Bangari
I am a software engineer by profession and technology is my love, learning and playing with new technologies is my passion.
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