Author: Kelly Carter
Elon Musk announced at a ‘show and tell’ event that his health tech company, Neuralink, is approaching human trials for implants that could link the human brain to computers.
Musk co-founded Neuralink in 2016 with the goal of implanting devices in the human brain that would allow people suffering from neurological disorders to control robotic limbs or computer devices with their minds.
According to Musk, the company has submitted most of the paperwork to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It plans to begin clinical trials within the next six months, subject to regulatory approval.
Here’s everything you need to know about Neuralink’s brain implant technology!
What Is Neuralink?
Neuralink is a surgically implanted device that converts neuronal surges into information that a computer can understand. A chipset called the link is implanted into the brain during this procedure. It has several insulated wires attached to the electrodes, allowing the device to perform its function.
The brain-computer interface (BCI) from Neuralink enables people with disabilities to communicate by controlling a mobile device or computer with their thoughts.
How does it work?
According to Neuralink’s website, the device is implanted directly into parts of the brain that control movement. The electrodes of the Neuralink then read electrical signals generated by several neurons in the brain. These signals are then translated into an action or movement.
Neuralink can be used to connect the brain and technology. Its primary function is to aid communication, but users can also paint, write, and perform various other tasks with the device.
What Are Experts Saying about Neuralink?
Musk announced last Wednesday on Twitter that the Neuralink device is ready for human testing. Previously, the company conducted several brain experiments on pigs and monkeys, which activists labelled as “sloppy experiments” because they caused infections, internal bleeding, and paralysis.
Experts are skeptical of Musk’s announcement that human testing will take place. It’s also unclear whether the FDA will consider Neuralink’s human testing application. Musk initially stated that the Neuralink would be available in 2020 and then again in 2022, but it is unclear when the device will be available.
Analysts and investors are also concerned that Elon Musk may be overextending himself by running too many companies simultaneously. Musk is the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter, and critics say he has a habit of setting unrealistic deadlines.
Musk Announces Job Openings at Neuralink
Elon Musk announced at the event on Wednesday that Neuralink has some open job positions, and applicants do not need a background in neuroscience or biology to work at the start-up.
Following this announcement, Anna Wexler, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, tweeted that there are still many unanswered questions about Musk’s Neuralink device and how it will work.
Moreover, while Musk shared data and challenges that the company has faced, the event failed to recognize the significant scientific difficulties that lie ahead. According to Wexler, the Neuralink device will likely face a difficult battle with federal regulators to receive approval.
The Bottom Line
One of Musk’s futuristic companies, Neuralink, aims to develop neural-interface technology to aid in studying and treating neurological disorders. The device has entered the human testing phase and is awaiting FDA approval to proceed. Experts say Musk may struggle to get the approval he needs to move the device forward because of many unanswered questions. Activists have also labeled Neuralink’s animal testing a “sloppy experiment.”