Neuralink’s Human Trials: Join Elon Musk’s Brain Chip Revolution

Neuralink Seeks Human Volunteers for Groundbreaking Trials

Elon Musk’s audacious venture, Neuralink, is embarking on a new frontier in neurotechnology. Despite facing significant controversy over animal trials that resulted in casualties, Musk remains resolute in his quest to unlock the potential of brain microchips. Now, Neuralink is searching for human volunteers to participate in groundbreaking trials, following approval by an independent review board.

A New Era of Brain Technology

Neuralink’s vision is to revolutionize the way we interact with technology, particularly for individuals with cervical spinal cord injuries, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or conditions like paralysis. Musk has boldly claimed that Neuralink’s technology will enable people with paralysis to control smartphones with their thoughts faster than those using their thumbs.

Recruitment Process and Timeline

While the prospect of mind-controlled technology is tantalizing, the road ahead is not without challenges. Neuralink is set to recruit volunteers for the study, but the process is expected to span approximately six years. The critical aspect of this journey is the surgical implantation of a brain chip by a robot. This chip will target the region responsible for the intention to move, with Musk’s ultimate goal being to enable individuals to control a computer cursor or keyboard through their thoughts.

FDA Clearance and Safety Concerns

Neuralink achieved a significant milestone when it received FDA clearance for its first-in-human clinical trial in May. Initially, the company aimed to test the technology on ten human subjects. The path forward, however, was not without concerns raised by the FDA, although the final decision was not publicly disclosed.

Musk emphasized the need for extreme caution, stating, “We want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work before putting a device into a human.” He acknowledged that progress, particularly concerning human applications, might appear slow but underscored the parallel efforts to bring this revolutionary technology to scale.

Addressing Controversy

The controversy surrounding Neuralink primarily stems from its previous animal testing, which resulted in casualties among test subjects. In April 2021, the company showcased a Macaque named “Pager” using one of the chips to play Pong. Initially, the monkey used a joystick, but later, it controlled the game solely through a wireless connection with its mind.

Reports emerged that Bluetooth-enabled chips implanted in the brains of several monkeys led to infections from the implanted electrodes. Tragically, around 1,500 animals, including over 280 sheep, pigs, and monkeys, have lost their lives due to Neuralink tests since 2018, according to a report from December.

Musk, in response to criticism, stated, “No monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant.” He clarified that they selected terminal monkeys, those near the end of their lives, to minimize risks in early testing.

As Neuralink takes its ambitious leap into human trials, the world watches with a mix of anticipation and caution, hoping to witness the realization of a groundbreaking technology that could change lives, while being mindful of the ethical and safety considerations along the way.

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