Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface (BMI) company, has announced that it has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct its first tests on humans. The company is developing minimally invasive brain chips which it hopes to use to restore vision and mobility for people with disabilities.

Neuralink says it doesn’t have immediate plans to recruit participants, however the FDA approval marks a significant step forward after a previous bid was rejected on safety grounds.

In March, Reuters reported the FDA’s major safety concerns involved the device’s lithium battery, the potential for the implant’s tiny wires to migrate to other areas of the brain, and questions over whether and how the device can be removed without damaging brain tissue.

Musk’s BMI startup first revealed a wireless version of its ‘N1 Link’ implant working in pigs in 2020, which streamed neural data in order to track limb movement. It has since showcased its neural implants working in primates, notably allowing a macaque test subject to play Pong using only its thoughts.

N1 Link (left), Removable charger/transmitter (right) | Image courtesy Neuralink

Neuralink’s N1 Implant is hermetically sealed in a biocompatible enclosure which the company says is capable of withstanding harsh physiological conditions. The N1 Implant is implanted by a custom a surgical robot; Neuralink says this ensures accurate and efficient placement of its 64 flexible threads which are distrusted to 1,024 electrodes.

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Powered by a small lithium battery that can be wirelessly charged using a compact, inductive charger, the implant is said to incorporate custom low-power chips and electronics that process neural signals and transmit them wirelessly to the Neuralink Application.

Neuralink is currently focused on giving people with quadriplegia the ability to control computers and mobile devices with their thoughts. In the future, the company hopes to restore capabilities such as vision, motor function, and speech, and eventually expand “how we experience the world,” the company says on its website.

That last bit is undoubtedly the company’s most ambitious goal, which the company has said will not only include reading electrical brain signals from paralyzed and neurotypical users alike, but also eventually the ability to “write” signals back to the brain.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Arthur

    Hope it goes well.

    • Daniel Meyer

      Yes, it is Elon Musk. What could go wrong? Human Enslavement, but probably nothing worse :)

  • DeeJae GodsOwn

    The ability to write to the brain eh? Yeah… that couldn’t be misused by those in power right? SMH… Lord if you’re gonna make your appearance, we could really use ya now. But we know how GOD is. Never early, never late, but always right on time!

    • Martin

      The Bible is nothing more than an astro-theological literary hybrid based on the original adoration bestowed upon the sun as it moves through the winter solstice and the precession of the equinoxes.

      Your messiah is an anthropomorphic symbol of the sun, not ‘son’.

      You get to have a new car in your driveway and air conditioning, but the 8 year old down the street gets to have bone cancer, one of the most painful, terrible things to have, and that little kid has to suffer for never having done anything to anyone.

      Your God is a monster if it was even a real thing. Unreal that grown adults still believe in, and chant crap from a book written at a time when there was no formal education whatsoever.

      • Eldon Harris

        The 8 year old gets to have eternal life, a gift made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, he will also receive the love that you can choose to give him.

      • Max-Dmg

        He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    It’s interesting that Musk thinks AI is dangerous and brain chipping is not. Has he not watched Matrix? If future humans all have this implant, AI will have full control of humanity.

    • ViRGiN

      If future humans all have this implant, then we have overcame most of the civilization-issues that have been plaguing us for thousands of years.

      • Daniel Meyer

        or those issues will just be amplified.

    • sfmike

      Of course, as a fascist it really sounds like a great idea to him.

  • Ookami

    this stuff is a bit to scary for me haha

  • Omar Q

    These tech dorks are going to cost everybody their jobs and freedoms. Wake up

  • Poggersboy55555

    Oh my god please tell me this is a joke