Elon Musk’s brain chip company, Neuralink, has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct its first clinical trial on humans.
The approval is a significant milestone for the company, which had previously struggled to gain approval.
While Neuralink has not yet revealed the aims of the study or started recruiting participants, the company envisions that brain implants could cure a range of conditions, including obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia, as well as enabling web browsing and telepathy.
The first target for the Neuralink device will be restoring vision and enabling movement of muscles in people who cannot do so.
However, the FDA had previously rejected Neuralink’s applications to begin human trials, citing major safety concerns about the device’s lithium battery and potential harm to brain tissue.
The company’s research has also come under scrutiny for potential animal-welfare violations, with roughly 1,500 animals killed since 2018.
Neuralink’s competitor, Synchron, has already implanted a brain chip in a patient in the United States and received regulatory clearance for human trials in 2021.
This article was updated 1 month ago