Elon Musk’s Neuralink has announced that recruitment for its first clinical trial in people is now open.
The company aims to implant devices in disabled individuals’ brains that will enable those people to control a computer cursor or keyboard entirely through their thoughts, though there are also grander long-term aspirations for Neuralink.
“We are happy to announce that we’ve received approval from the reviewing independent institutional review board and our first hospital site to begin recruitment for our first-in-human clinical trial,” the company stated. “The PRIME Study (short for Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface) – a groundbreaking investigational medical device trial for our fully-implantable, wireless brain-computer interface (BCI) – aims to evaluate the safety of our implant (N1) and surgical robot (R1) and assess the initial functionality of our BCI for enabling people with paralysis to control external devices with their thoughts.”
“Those who have quadriplegia due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may qualify” to participate in the trial, according to the company.
Earlier this year, the company announced that it had received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for its first clinical study in people.
According to the Neuralink website, the company aims to eventually “restore capabilities such as vision, motor function, and speech, and eventually expand how we experience the world.”
Musk says that the technology holds “the potential to restore full body movement. In the long term, Neuralink hopes to play a role in AI risk civilizational risk reduction by improving human to AI (and human to human) bandwidth by several orders of magnitude. Imagine if Stephen Hawking had had this.”
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