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Elon Musk’s Brain Implant Company, Neuralink, Nears Human Trials

Hannah Blackiston


Elon Musk’s Brain Implant Company, Neuralink, Nears Human Trials

Elon Musk's brain implant company, Neuralink, has posted job listings for a clinical trial director and coordinator, implying it's nearing the goal of clinical trials.

The neurotechnology company is creating implantable brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) that could connect humans to computers.

It launched officially in 2016 and has secured almost $200 million in funding to date, half of which was from Musk himself.

The new roles being advertised will oversee human trials of the medical device, which has already been demonstrated on monkeys and pigs.

"As the clinical trial director, you'll work closely with some of the most innovative doctors and top engineers, as well as working with Neuralink's first clinical trial participants," the advert for the role in Fremont, California, says.

"You will lead and help build the team responsible for enabling Neuralink's clinical research activities and developing the regulatory interactions that come with a fast-paced and ever-evolving environment."

The company planned to start experimenting on humans in 2020, but that goal has been delayed.

Neuralink was launched to make devices that treat serious brain diseases, but has the long-term goal of 'human enhancement'.

SOPA Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo
SOPA Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo

The idea was inspired by science fiction, including from The Culture novels by Iain M. Banks.

Musk has described the project as creating 'symbiosis with artificial intelligence' to stop any potential of AI becoming a threat to human society.

He hopes Neuralink will 'enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs'.

The project has been marred in controversy, with five of the eight scientists departing by mid-2020, and co-founder and president Max Hodak exiting in early 2021.

Musk told the Wall Street Journal last year that the company was aiming to implant in human brains at some point in 2022.

In order to begin testing on humans, Neuralink must satisfy a number of requirements from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it isn't known yet how far the company is through this process.

As of yet, it doesn't appear Neuralink has registered to begin human trials.

Another company, Synchron, is working in the same space and already has FDA approval.

Synchron says it is focused on 'unlocking the natural highways of the brain' with the goal of helping treat neurological disorders and improving the connection between neurons in the brain.

Featured Image Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: elon musk, News

Hannah Blackiston
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