Thu, 02 Feb 2023

AUSTIN, Texas: Elon Musk has said that he expects a wireless brain chip developed by his company, Neuralink, to begin human clinical trials within six months.

The San Francisco and Austin-based company missed earlier timelines for the trials set by Musk, who also runs electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, rocket firm SpaceX, and social media platform Twitter.

According to Neuralink, the brain chip interfaces it is developing could help disabled patients move and communicate again, while Musk added that it could also restore vision.

In order to gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin human clinical trials, Neuralink has been recently conducting tests on animals.

"We want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work well before putting a device into a human," said Musk during a recent presentation at Neuralink's headquarters.

"The progress at first, particularly as it applies to humans, will seem perhaps agonizingly slow, but we are doing all of the things to bring it to scale in parallel. So, in theory, progress should be exponential," he added.

Musk said that the first two human applications for the Neuralink device will be to restore vision and enable muscular movement in humans.

During Neuralink's previous public presentation, held more than a year ago, a monkey implanted with a brain chip played a computer game by thinking alone.

However, Neuralink's trials are running behind schedule.

In 2019, Musk said he aimed to receive regulatory approval by the end of 2020, and in 2021, he stated that he hoped to begin human trials.

Neuralink has also been reported to have missed internal deadlines to gain FDA approval to start human trials.

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