Elon Musk’s brain implant company, Neuralink, has announced permission from US regulators to test its device on humans.
The company made the announcement on Twitter late Thursday, but did not provide details about the possible study, which was not counted in the US government’s clinical trials database.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials would not confirm or deny whether the agency had granted permission, but officer Carly Kempler said in an email that she “acknowledges and understands” that Musk’s company made the announcement.
Neuralink is one of several groups that connect the nervous system with computers to help overcome brain disorders, brain injuries and other applications.
Earlier this week, for example, Swiss researchers published research in the journal Nature that shows how communication between the brain and the spinal cord can help a paralyzed person stand and walk naturally. From clinicaltrials.gov, more than 30 brain-spinal cord computer interface trials are available.
Musk, who also owns Twitter and is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, said last December that his company is in the process of asking regulators to allow it to test the Neuralink device.
It is designed to be about the size of a large coin and is designed to be implanted in the skull, with ultra-thin wires going directly into the brain. Musk said the first two applications would be in humans to try to restore vision and to help people use their muscles to control their muscles quickly with little or no ability to manage digital devices. He also predicted that signals from the brain could be combined with Neuralink signals in the spinal cord for people with broken necks.
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