The billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s brain chip startup is preparing to launch clinical trials in humans.
Musk, who co-founded Neuralink in 2016, has promised that the technology “will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs”.
The Silicon Valley company, which has already successfully implanted artificial intelligence microchips in the brains of a macaque monkey named Pager and a pig named Gertrude, is now recruiting for a “clinical trial director” to run tests of the technology in humans.
Last month, Musk told the Wall Street Journal that Neuralink hoped to implant its device in human brains sometime in 2022. However, he has made similar predictions in the past that proved overly optimistic including in 2019, when he said during a presentation that the device would be in human skulls by the following year.
“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.”
The first in-human test that medical device makers must go through on the path to U.S. Food and Drug
Administration approval is known as a feasibility test. The next, after a submission, review and approval process with the FDA based on the feasibility test, is a pivotal device test.