According to Bloomberg, the brain-computer interface (BCI), will “allow a person with a debilitating condition — such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or the aftereffects of a stroke — to communicate via their thoughts.”
The CEO of Twitter and owner of Tesla wrote on the social media platform Wednesday night in response to a write up by the outlet about the device, “We are now confident that the Neuralink device is ready for humans, so timing is a function of working through the FDA approval process.”
The device translates neuronal activity into data that could be interpreted by a computer and during the event, Musk revealed the company is developing implants that can go into the spinal cord to potentially restore movement in someone who is paralyzed and an ocular implant to improve or restore human vision.
Musk said at the event, "As miraculous as that may sound, we are confident that it is possible to restore full-body functionality to someone who has a severed spinal cord."
The product which consists of a small device and electrode-laced wires, is implanted into the brain using a robot that carves out a piece of a person’s skull then implants the wires into their brain tissue.
Neuralink’s recent focus has been on making sure the robot can perform surgeries quickly, with minimal harm to the human body. The billionaire is optimistic that one day a person can get brain implants as a quick outpatient procedure.
According to Musk, discussions with the Food and Drug Administration have gone well and the company has set a target of its first human trials within the next six months.
Bloomberg noted that there are some similar startups ahead of Neuralink for human trials such as Synchron Inc. that has been able to implant a small stent-like device into the brains of patients in the US and Australia.
The company’s product has made it possible for patients who were unable to move or speak to communicate wirelessly via computers using their thoughts.
The outlet noted that the type of brain surgery to implant the Neuralink device is more invasive than the Synchron product.
Neuralink does have more processing power that its competitors and Musk is hoping that the stronger computing capabilities will help the company’s hardware yield better results and restore more functions in humans.
Musk has urged his engineers to work faster stating during a recent product review meeting, “We will all be dead before something useful happens.”
According to Bloomberg, the billionaire is also aiming for the device to one day become mainstream and allow for the transfer of information between humans and machines.
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