Elon Musk’s brain chip company Neuralink has been cleared by the FDA to begin human testing, it announced on Twitter.
“We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study!” the company stated. “This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people.”
Neuralink was founded in 2016 with a goal of helping people recover from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, curing depression and other mental health disorders, and connecting humans to the internet for everything from music streaming to near-telepathic communication.
We would initially enable someone who has almost no ability to operate their muscles… and enable them to operate their phone faster than someone who has working hands,” Musk previously said, even proclaiming the technology would be able to “restore full body functionality to someone who has a severed spinal cord.”
Before it was cleared to begin human testing, Neuralink had been trialing its brain chips in monkeys. The company has shown its test subjects “playing” video games and moving computer cursors through their implants, though the trials haven’t all been cheery: Last year, reports found that at least 15 out of 23 monkeys tested with the technology between 2017 and 2020 died. Later, the company went under investigation for violating animal welfare regulations after employees alleged that pressure from Musk to accelerate development led to an increase in botched trials — and monkey deaths.
We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study!
This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our…
—Neuralink (@neuralink) May 25, 2023