Musk’s company aims to test brain implant in people soon – Business News

Musk’s company aims to test brain implant in people soon – Business News

Tech billionaire Elon Musk said his company Neuralink is soon seeking permission to test its brain implant on people.

In the “Show and tell” presentation In a live broadcast Wednesday night, Musk said his team is in the process of asking US regulators for permission to test the device. He said the company should be able to place the implant in a human brain in about six months as part of a clinical trial, although that timeline is far off.

Musk’s Neuralink is one of several groups working to connect brains to computers to help treat brain disorders, overcome brain injuries and other applications.

The field dates back to the 1960s, said Rajesh Rao, co-director of the Center for Neurotechnology at the University of Washington. “But it really took off in the 90s. And recently we have seen a lot of progress, especially in the field of communication brain computer interfaces”.

Rao, who watched Musk’s presentation online, said he doesn’t believe Neuralink is ahead of the curve when it comes to brain-computer interface achievements. “But … they are quite advanced in terms of the actual hardware of the devices,” he said.

The Neuralink device it is about the size of a large coin and is designed to be implanted in the skull, with ultra-thin wires leading directly into the brain. Musk said the two first-in-person applications would restore sight and help people with little or no ability to quickly work their muscles use digital devices.

He said he is also seeing that in someone with a broken neck, signals from the brain can be bridged to Neuralink devices in the spinal cord.

“We are confident that there is no physical limit to enabling full-body functionality,” said Musk, who recently took to Twitter and is CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.

In experiments by other groups, implanted sensors allow paralyzed people to use brain signals to operate computers and move robotic arms. in one 2018 exam In the journal PLOS ONE, three participants with paralysis below the neck that affects all limbs used an experimental brain-computer interface being tested by the BrainGate consortium. The interface records the neural activity of a tiny sensor in the brain to navigate things like email and apps.

A excellent study in the journal NatureScientists at the NeuroRestore research center in Switzerland identified a type of neuron activated by electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, allowing nine patients with chronic spinal cord injury to walk again.

Researchers have also been working on it brain-machine interfaces to restore sight Rao said a number of companies have developed retinal implants, but Musk’s announcement suggested his team would use signals directed directly to the brain’s visual cortex, with some academic groups also “with limited success.”

Neuralink spokespeople did not immediately respond to an email to the press office. Dr. Jaimie Henderson, a professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University who is a consultant to Neuralink, said that one way Neuralink differs from other devices is its ability to reach deeper layers of the brain. But he added: “There are many different systems with many different advantages.”

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