Neuralink: Elon Musk's brain implant company approved to recruit for human trial (cloned)

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The company has designed an implant to let people control a mouse or keyboard with their thoughts

Elon Musk's brain chip company has said it has received permission to begin recruiting people for its first human trial.

Neuralink's goal is to connect human brains to computers and has designed an implant to let people control a mouse or keyboard with their thoughts - which will be inserted into the region that controls the intention to move. 

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The company wants to test its technology on people with paralysis as Musk hopes to one day help those with obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia.

Neuralink was co-founded by Elon Musk in 2016 (image: Adobe)Neuralink was co-founded by Elon Musk in 2016 (image: Adobe)
Neuralink was co-founded by Elon Musk in 2016 (image: Adobe) | Timon -

Neuralink won US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its first human clinical trial in May, and at the time, Neuralink said it represented "an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people."

It had sought approval to implant its devices in 10 people, former and current employees told news agency Reuters but the number finally agreed upon is not known but it will focus on paralysis patients.

However, if the device proves safe for human use, it could still take decades before it is cleared for patients outside the trial.

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In the six-year study, a robot will surgically place 64 flexible threads, thinner than a human hair, onto a part of the brain that controlled "movement intention", the company said.

These allow Neuralink's experimental N1 implant - powered by a battery that can be charged wirelessly - to record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that decodes how the person intends to move.

The company said those qualifying people for the trial include those with quadriplegia due to injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - a disease in which the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain degenerate.

Dr Adrien Rapeaux, a research associate in the Neural Interfaces Lab at Imperial College London told the BBC that "Neuralink no doubt has an advantage in terms of implantation" as their procedure was robotically assisted.

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But Dr Rapeaux who is also a co-founder of a neural implant start-up Mintneuro, said it wasn't clear how their method for converting brain signals into useful actions would do better than that used by Blackrock Neurotech for example, and whether it is able to stay accurate and reliable over time, "a known issue in the field".

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