On Thursday, Elon Musk’s startup company, Neuralink, received approval from the FDA to conduct its first human clinical study.
Neuralink has created a brain implant called the Link, which enables patients with severe paralysis to operate external technology using only neural signals.
This suggests that people with severe degenerative diseases like ALS may someday regain the ability to type and move cursors with their minds.
On Twitter, the company wrote: “This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people.”
According to CNBC, Neuralink is a component of the rapidly growing brain-computer interface (BCI) market. A BCI is a device that interprets brain impulses and converts them into commands for external technologies.
Due to Musk’s prominent status as the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter, Neuralink is arguably the most well-known brand in space.
The FDA’s ultimate seal of approval has not been secured by any BCI company. However, Neuralink has moved a step closer to the market by getting approval for research involving human participants.
Patients who use Neuralink’s BCI must have invasive brain surgery.
The Link, a tiny circular implant that interprets and transmits neurological signals, serves as the system’s hub. The threads that are put into the brain tissue and used to monitor neural impulses are connected to The Link.
Patients who have Neuralink devices will be taught how to operate them via the Neuralink app. According to the company’s website, patients would then be able to use external mice and keyboards via a Bluetooth connection.
Scientists say that BCIs may one-day treat conditions including blindness and mental illnesses in addition to helping those with paralysis.