LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s brain-chip startup, Neuralink, has secured approval from an independent review board to initiate the first human trial of its brain implant designed for paralysis patients.
The trial will consider individuals with paralysis caused by cervical spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), though the specific number of participants has not been disclosed. The trial is expected to span approximately six years.
Neuralink plans to use a robotic system to surgically implant a brain-computer interface (BCI) device into the brain area responsible for voluntary movement intention.
The primary objective is to enable individuals to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.
While the safety of the BCI device for human use is paramount, the path to securing commercial approval could extend beyond a decade, as per experts’ assessments.
Neuralink originally sought permission to implant its device in ten patients but is currently in discussions with the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to potentially reduce the number of patients involved, prompted by safety concerns raised by the agency.
Musk’s vision for Neuralink encompasses rapid surgical implantation of its chip devices to address a range of conditions, including obesity, autism, blindness, paralysis, depression, and schizophrenia.
Neuralink previously received FDA clearance for its first-in-human clinical trial, though it was already under scrutiny for its handling of animal testing at the time.