Elon Musk has revealed that his stealth neurotechnology start-up is poised to begin human clinical trials soon on brain implants.
The company, which has been pursuing the technology for years with Musk’s financial backing and leadership, touted its initial results as promising for potentially treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s, spinal injuries and blindness.
Neuralink executives said they’re aiming for their first human clinical study in 2020.
While still many years away from reality – and no guarantee due to the incredible challenges associated with the brain – Neuralink implants hold promise for people with spinal injuries or serious neurological disorders. Other companies are pursuing similar technology.
Musk, who also serves as CEO of electric vehicle maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, emphasized that the implant development will progress “quite slowly” and that it’s “quite difficult” to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration for such devices.
Nonetheless, he said it’s worth the effort for the potential health benefits.
“I think it’s important for us to address brain-related diseases,” he said. “Whether it’s an accident or congenital or any kind of brain-related disorder or a spinal disorder – if you know somebody who’s broken their neck or broken their spine, we can solve that with a chip, and this is something that I think most people don’t quite understand yet.”