Elon Musk’s Neuralink Brain Chip Prepares For First Clinical Trials With Humans

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Image via Neuralink


In April last year, Elon Musk surprised the world when he released a video of a monkey implanted with his brain-chip technology, Neuralink. The nine-year-old macaque could be seen playing a Pong-style video game without the need for a controller.

Now, new reports have emerged that the billionaire is planning to take the technology to clinical trials in humans. This moves the venture one step closer to Musk’s claim in 2016 that one day Neuralink “will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.” 

Aside from Pager the monkey, scientists working at the firm have also successfully implanted the chip into a pig, which documented wireless signals from the processor in its brain.

According to The Guardian, a new job advertisement has appeared for the role of a “clinical trial director” to begin trials in humans.

“As the clinical 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,” said the recruitment note. 

Musk had revealed to The Wall Street Journal that he hopes the human trials can get off the ground in the coming year, should the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grant the company approval.

“We hope to have this in our first humans, which will be people that have severe spinal cord injuries like tetraplegics, quadriplegics. I think we have a chance with Neuralink to restore full-body functionality to someone who has a spinal cord injury,” he said. 

The Independent reported that Neuralink’s chip is “about the size of coin,” and can replace a piece of the skull without injuring the brain.


A 2019 paper by the company’s researchers described it as “small and flexible electrode ‘threads’” that are surgically implanted into one’s head by a robot. 

In the future, Musk posits that the implant could have limitless offerings, including solving “important brain and spine problems,” as well as blindness, paralysis, and hearing, as per a presentation in 2020. 

Will the lofty venture reach the heights expected of it and help those with life-changing injuries regain movement? We’ll have to wait and see when the trials commence. 




[via The Guardian and The Independent, cover image via Neuralink]

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