Elon Musk said he is “confident” that the brain chips being developed by his neurotechnology company, Neuralink, will be ready for human trials within six months.
Shortly after the event, the billionaire, who also heads Twitter, electric car maker Tesla, and space industries company SpaceX, said in a tweet on Twitter: “We are now confident that the Neuralink device is ready for human use, so the timing now depends on management approval.” FDA Food and Drug Administration.
Neuralink’s brain chip, which is about the size of a coin, contains tiny wires embedded with electrodes intended to monitor and electrically stimulate brain activity. Neuralink aims to embed the chip into a human skull using a robot the company is also developing.
At Wednesday’s event, Musk demonstrated his brain-computer technology by showing a video of a monkey apparently fitted with a Neuralink brain chip. According to the company, the monkey was “typing on the computer through telepathy.”
Musk expressed great ambitions for the technology when applied to humans. Initially, the company hopes that brain-computer interface technology will give paralyzed people a way to communicate through their thoughts.
In the future, Musk says, the company plans to develop technology that could, for example, restore a person with a severe spinal cord injury to control of their entire body.
Musk had set, but missed, multiple timelines for integrating brain chips from Neuralink into humans. In 2019, he said that the company hopes to place a brain chip in a sick person by the end of 2020. In 2020, Musk said that human trials of the technology might begin within a year, then he repeated the same statement in early 2021.