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The company Neuralink announces that it is authorized to test its brain implants on humans

The start-up Neuralink, one of Elon Musk’s companies, announced Thursday, May 25, 2023 on Twitter that it had received approval from the American health authorities to test its connected brain implants on humans.

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This is an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people “, said the Californian company on its Twitter account, specifying that “ recruitment for clinical trials is not yet open “.

Neuralink designs connected devices to be implanted in the brain to communicate with computers directly through thought. They must first be used to help people who are paralyzed or suffering from neurological diseases. The start-up then wants to make these implants safe and reliable enough to be elective (comfort) surgery – people could then pay a few thousand dollars to equip their brains with computer power. For Elon Musk, these chips must allow humanity to arrive at a “ symbiosis with AI in his 2020 words, delivered at the company’s annual conference.

We are now confident that Neuralink’s device is ready for humans, so timing depends on FDA approval process [l’agence chargée de la santé publique aux États-Unis, Ndlr] “, he had indicated at the end of November on Twitter, a month after having bought the social network.

Predictions to be taken with a grain of salt

Twitter boss Elon Musk You’re here And SpaceX is a regular at risky predictions, especially about the range of Tesla electric cars. In July 2019, he estimated that Neuralink could perform its first tests on individuals in 2020.

So far, the coin-sized prototypes have been implanted in the skulls of animals. Several monkeys are thus capable of play » to video games or « type words on a screen, simply by following the movement of the cursor on the screen. At the end of November, the start-up also took stock of its latest advances in the design of a robot-surgeon and the development of other implants, to be installed in the spinal cord or the eyes, to restore mobility or vision. .

Other companies are working on controlling computers by thought, such as Synchron, which announced in July 2022 that it had implanted the first brain-machine interface in the United States. “ We are building technology capable of directly broadcasting the thoughts of people who have lost the ability to move or speak due to illness or injury “Explains Thomas Oxley, the founder and boss of this start-up, in a video on his website. Several patients are testing the implant, which has been inserted into blood vessels, so they can compose emails or go online using their eyes and brain.

Read also : Guest France – Neurosciences: how a paraplegic was able to walk again thanks to implants

(With AFP)

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