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How Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain chip got approval for a human trial

LKS 20230930 (FILES) SpaceX, Twitter and electric car maker Tesla CEO Elon Musk looks on as he speaks during his visit at the Vivatech technology startups and innovation fair at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, on June 16, 2023. US billionaire Elon Musk has now also intervened in the dispute over Europe's refugee policy and has also spread an election call for German right-wing party AfD. On Twitter, Musk criticized the federal government's financial support for the German sea rescuers in the Mediterranean Sea. The Foreign Office reacted immediately and told Musk that it was about 'saving lives'. LEHTIKUVA / AFP, AFP / LEHTIKUVA / ALAIN JOCARD

Elon Musk’s Neuralink has made headlines with its claim of successfully implanting its brain-machine interface device into a human subject. This achievement follows a meticulous approval process, marking a significant milestone for the company’s futuristic technology.

If proven successful, Neuralink’s technology promises to revolutionize how we interact with devices, enabling users to control them using only their thoughts. Additionally, it holds potential for treating neurological diseases, making it a groundbreaking innovation in the medical field.

Musk’s recent announcement on X revealed that the first human subject who received the brain implant is recovering well. While this development is promising, it’s important to note that the results are yet to be independently verified.

Neuralink’s journey to human testing involved obtaining FDA approval for clinical trials, a process that took several months. The company’s primary goal in these trials is to assess the safety and efficacy of its device, along with testing its ability to read and decode neural activity.

Despite the excitement surrounding Neuralink’s breakthrough, there are still uncertainties, given Musk’s history of ambitious claims. However, the FDA’s rigorous standards ensure the protection of human subjects in medical trials.

So, what exactly is Neuralink? Founded by Musk in 2016, the company aims to develop implantable brain-computer interface devices. These devices, which are virtually invisible, consist of advanced technology designed to read and interpret neural signals.

While Neuralink’s implant has yet to be proven effective in humans, it showcased its capabilities in a public demonstration with a macaque named Pager in 2021. The primate was able to control a computer cursor and play games using only its brain signals.

Despite its potential, Neuralink has faced criticism for its treatment of animals during testing and concerns about human exposure to pathogens. However, the company has defended its practices, emphasizing its commitment to ethical research.

Obtaining FDA approval was a significant milestone for Neuralink, allowing it to proceed with human trials. The approval process involved rigorous testing and scrutiny to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the device.

While Neuralink leads the way in brain-machine interface technology, it’s not the only player in the field. Other companies and research institutions are also exploring similar devices, indicating the growing interest and potential applications of this groundbreaking technology.

In summary, Neuralink’s progress represents a significant step towards realizing the potential of brain-machine interfaces. While there are still challenges ahead, the company’s innovative approach holds promise for transforming healthcare and human-computer interaction in the future.

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