Elon Musk's Neuralink Gets Greenlight To Recruit Humans For Brain-Chip Trial

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Sep 20, 2023 - 09:20 PM

Elon Musk's brain implant startup has been granted permission by an independent review board to begin recruiting patients with paralysis to test its experimental brain chip. 

Neuralink's PRIME Study (short for Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface) is an investigational medical device trial for its fully implantable, wireless brain-computer interface (BCI) – and aims to evaluate the safety of its BCI and surgical robot. 

During the study, the surgical robot will place the BCI in a region of the brain that controls movement intention. Once in place, the BCI will be cosmetically invisible and is intended to record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that decodes movement intention. The goal is for people with paralysis to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration rejected Neuralink's attempt to expedite human trials. However, the FDA granted Neuralink an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) in May, permitting the device's use in clinical research. 

"Those who have quadriplegia due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may qualify" for the study, Neuralink said. 

Already, Neuralink claimed its brain chip had taught a monkey how to play video games with its mind. 

Musk recently said the brain chip "will succeed at solving many brain injury issues–spine injury issues–along the way." And he even said the chip could restore vision in people, even if they're born blind. 

Neuralink isn't the first brain-computer interface company to enter clinical trials for humans. For example, Synchron and Blackrock Neurotech have already implanted their brain chips into the heads of people. 

"We want to surpass able-bodied human performance with our technology," Neuralink tweeted earlier this year.