Musk’s Neuralink might start clinical trials with humans in six months
Elon Musk expects his company Neuralink's coin-sized wireless brain chip to begin human clinical trials in six months.
Elon Musk said in April 2017 that Neuralink aims to make devices to treat serious brain diseases in the short term, aiming for human enhancement.
Musk, the CEO of Neuralink, has announced that the company's clinical trials in humans will likely begin within the next six months.
"We wanna be extremely careful and certain, that it will work well, before putting a device in a human," Musk said during the Neuralink Show and Tell, Fall 2022, adding that "we've submitted, I think, most of our paperworks to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We think, probably, in about six months we should be able to have our first neurolink in a human."
The company has been working on a biochip that can transmit brain signals. This will allow direct control of electronic devices using only brain impulses.
What is Neuralink's goal?
Neuralink's primary goal is to allegedly help people, particularly those suffering from neurological diseases. According to Musk, the chip will make it possible to control hormones, restore motor functions, and treat blindness.
Heating and device-brain compatibility were among the FDA's top concerns, according to information provided during the Q&A section. To address these issues, the Neuralink team had to redesign some key structural elements of the chip. The FDA granted Neuralink innovative product status in July 2020.
Some of the company's detractors claim that Neuralink's claims are exaggerated. Apologists for Neuralink, for their part, have argued that, while some of the things demonstrated by Neuralink have already been accomplished in academic settings, Musk brought attention and investment to neuro start-ups.
However, in February, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a group of over 17,000 physicians, filed a lawsuit against the University of California, Davis, whose labs Neuralink employees used for animal experiments from 2017 to 2020.
According to the lawsuit, animals "suffered infections from the implanted electrodes placed in their brains," and BioGlue, an experimental substance, "killed monkeys by destroying portions of their brains." Musk paid the university $1.4 million for the use of its facilities.
The University provided the Committee with laboratory notes describing eight experiments involving monkeys implanted with electrodes. There were reports of monkeys "repeatedly vomiting, choking, and having little interaction with his environment/observers" following surgery, as well as "having a bloody head... dried blood around the base of the cranial implant."
On another note, Elon Musk, Max Hodak, and Paul Merolla co-founded Neuralink in 2016 and then hired the first group of several experts in various fields. However, as of January 2022, only two of the eight "cofounders" remained at the company.