No matter how much no one understands what he’s doing with Twitter, Elon Musk has demonstrated enormous ambition in all his projects, which, along with his penchant for spectacle, has made him one of the most well-known magnates of our time. Some of his most eccentric ideas have included sending a Tesla into space, the tunnel to alleviate traffic in Las Vegas, or a ring of satellites in Earth’s orbit to provide high-speed internet to individuals anywhere in the world. However, connecting people to a computer might top the list in this competition.
Neuralink already has the permits for the next step
Although there have been a few hiccups along the way, Neuralink has managed to secure the necessary permits from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to begin its clinical trials in humans. During this initial development stage, Neuralink’s technology will be studied to assist individuals with paralysis control devices. Therefore, the company is actively seeking volunteers with quadriplegia caused by spinal cord injuries or ALS who are over 22 years old and have a “consistent and reliable” caregiver.
This study is called PRIME (by the way, its acronym doesn’t even fit in English) and aims to test three devices simultaneously: N1 is the brain-computer implant, R1 is the robot that will perform this extremely delicate and highly precise operation, and N1 User App is the software that N1 will rely on to function.
Like many of Musk’s projects, this one has not been without controversy, including some concerning practices carried out by the company. In any case, the study will follow a rigorous procedure, including an 18-month pre-study period for each volunteer and, after the surgery, two hours of daily practice with the user interface for the following five years, with periodic reviews throughout the process.
The exact number of volunteers Neuralink is seeking and the hospital where these procedures will take place have not been disclosed, although it appears they have already found a location to conduct them.