FDA Approves Human Trials For Brain Chips, Backed By Elon Musk

The brain-implant startup Neuralink, established by Elon Musk in 2016, recently secured the Food and Drug Administration’s approval to initiate human clinical trials with its groundbreaking device. Neuralink is working on a miniature chip that aims to connect the human brain to a computer through wires laced with electrodes. This innovative device may potentially treat conditions such as paralysis and blindness in the future.

Cristin Welle, an ex-FDA official and currently an associate professor of neurosurgery and physiology at the University of Colorado, lauded this approval as a significant milestone, during her interview with Bloomberg. She affirmed that Neuralink’s readiness for human trials signifies its successful completion of preclinical safety testing and bench testing. Musk envisions that the brain chip could help humans stay abreast of the rapid developments in artificial intelligence. Neuralink has already demonstrated the chip’s potential by training a monkey to play video games using only its thoughts.

Musk is optimistic about the chip’s abilities, suggesting it could solve a range of issues related to brain and spine injuries. He even proposed the possibility of the chip restoring vision, even in individuals who are congenitally blind. Neuralink isn’t the pioneer in conducting human clinical trials in the brain-computer interface domain; companies such as Synchron and Blackrock Neurotech have previously inserted their brain chips in humans. Aiming to surpass the abilities of healthy humans with their technology, Neuralink declared their ambitious goal in a tweet last month.