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Soon connected brain implants tested on humans? Elon Musk’s Neuralink startup gets green light



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The American start-up Neuralink, one of Elon Musk’s companies, announced this Thursday, May 25, that it had obtained the green light from the American health authorities to test its connected brain implants on humans.

“This is an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people.” It is through these deaths, published in a message on Twitter that the start-up Neuralink, one of Elon Musk’s companies, announced the news on Thursday May 25: it has received the agreement of the American health authorities to test its implants connected brains on humans.

We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study!

This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our…

—Neuralink (@neuralink) May 25, 2023

This company designs connected devices to be implanted in the brain to communicate with computers directly by thought. They must first be used to help people who are paralyzed or suffering from neurological diseases. The start-up then wants to make these implants safe and reliable enough to be elective (comfort) surgery – people could then pay a few thousand dollars to equip their brains with computer power.

So far, prototypes the size of a small coin have been implanted in the skulls of animals. Several monkeys are thus able to “play” video games or “type” words on a screen, simply by following the movement of the cursor on the screen with their eyes.

Robot surgeon and implants in the spinal cord

At the end of November, the start-up also took stock of its latest advances in the design of a robot-surgeon and the development of other implants, to be installed in the spinal cord or the eyes, to restore mobility or vision. .

For Elon Musk, these chips must allow humanity to achieve a “symbiosis with artificial intelligence (AI)”, in his words from 2020, delivered at the company’s annual conference. The billionaire fears that AI systems will overtake humans and one day take control. “We are now confident that the Neuralink device is ready for humans, so the timeline depends on the FDA approval process,” the US drug agency said on Twitter in late November. a month after buying the social network.

In 2022, Elon Musk urged Neuralink employees to work faster. “We’ll all be dead before anything useful happens,” he told them at a meeting last year, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

Thought control of computers

Other companies are working on controlling computers by thought, such as Synchron, which announced in July 2022 that it had implanted the first brain-machine interface in the United States. “We are building technology that can directly broadcast the thoughts of people who have lost the ability to move or speak due to illness or injury,” said Thomas Oxley, the founder and boss of this start-up, in a video on his website.

Several patients are testing the implant, which has been inserted into blood vessels, so they can compose emails or go online using their eyes and brain.

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