Tesla CEO and head of Twitter, Elon Musk, announced on Wednesday that his neurotechnology company, Neuralink, is currently seeking permission from American regulators to begin testing human brain implants.
Neuralink was co-founded by Musk and launched in 2016. The San Francisco-based company develops implantable brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) and currently only tests its devices on animals such as monkeys. The company’s device was created for implantation in the skull and is approximately the size of a large coin. The implant’s design features ultra-thin wires that were made to go directly inside the brain.
Musk made the announcement during a “show and tell” presentation and said that Neuralink’s first two applications in humans would be used to restore vision as well as provide people with limited or no motor skills the ability to operate their muscles. The multi-billionaire also explained that he saw the Neuralink device being used as a bridge between damaged areas of the nervous system. Though no specific date was given, Musk said Neuralink should be ready for clinical trials in approximately six months.
Since their inception, BCIs have seen advancements with multiple companies working on neurotechnology. Rajesh Rao, co-director of the Center for Neurotechnology at the University of Washington, expressed that while he believes Neuralink is more advanced in the hardware used in their devices, he does not think the company is ahead of its peers in BCI achievements.
Watch the announcement below.