Elon Musk’s brain-chip startup, Neuralink, stated that it has gained approval from the FDA to start human trials of the robot that treats paralysis.
Neural disorders, either generated through genetics, environmental factors, trauma, or an unprecedented event, can cause a lifelong disability, paralysis being one of the most common among them. Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a brain-chip startup, is studying the development of a robot that can conduct surgeries to induce movements. The company recently revealed that it has gotten the FDA’s approval to conduct human trials of the robot.
An independent review board has approved Neuralink to recruit humans for a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) surgery using a robot that will install a chip in the brain that enables paralysis patients to move. This surgery is aimed at people who lose control of a part of the brain that helps incorporate movement. The ideal patients for this surgery are the ones with a cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Neuralink said it intends to build a technology to execute movement through thoughts. The initial tests will include using a keyboard or moving a mouse using just their thoughts alone. The company had earlier planned to get FDA approval for conducting the human trial on 10 patients but is currently negotiating a lower number. Even though the company says it has gotten approval, it did not reveal the number of patients it approved to conduct the tests.
FDA had earlier raised safety concerns over the risk of this surgical procedure, according to its existing and former employees. Elon Musk has great expectations from his Neuralink startup in revolutionizing disease treatment and fastening the healing process using computer technology and Artificial Intelligence.
The company was facing federal scrutiny for its handling practices of the animal trials, but in May, it said that it had gotten clearance for in-human clinical trials of this study. Even for the patients who qualify for the tests, the final results may take up to 6 years to surface. Human trial clearance is one of the foundation steps to bring this technology into use, followed by an even stricter commercial-use clearance from the FDA. This process may take up to a decade for the startup, but Musk has confident hopes for this project and others that may soon come into play.
With a mixture of literature, cinema, and photography, Manish is mostly traveling. When he is not, he is probably writing another tech news for you!
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