Musk’s brain-computer interface project launches human trials for the first time and will use robot implants

Published On:Sep,21 2023    Hits: 190
Musks brain-computer interface company Neuranlink is about to launch its first human clinical trial. This is another major development announced by the company after it received clinical approval from the US FDA in May this year.

On September 19, local time, Neuranlink said it had received approval from an independent review committee to begin recruiting human trials of brain-computer interface (BCI) brain implants for paralyzed patients. Notably, the research will use surgical robots to place implants into areas of the brain that control body movement.
Neuralinks initial research goal is to use brain-computer interface implants to enable paralyzed patients to control the computer cursor or keyboard to express their thoughts. This is also the direction that many brain-computer interface companies are researching.

People who have been paralyzed by cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis will be eligible to participate in the study, according to company disclosures. But Neuralink did not disclose how many participants will participate in the trial. The trial will take approximately six years to complete.

Neuralinks brain-computer interface chip is described by Musk as a Fitbit implanted in the head. The chip is connected to the brain through small wires. These electrodes are used to record and decode electrical signals from the brain to coordinate hand and arm movements.

However, some experts say that even if the BCI device is proven safe for human use, it may still take more than a decade for the startup to obtain approval for its commercial use.

"The brain-computer interface that Musk makes is a sports or rehabilitation type of brain-computer interface. It mainly helps paralyzed patients regain their movement abilities, such as walking or typing with their thoughts. Domestic companies have also made some breakthroughs in this area." A domestic clinician engaged in research in the field of brain-computer interface told China Business News.

Recently, many international teams have published research on using brain-computer interface technology to help paralyzed patients regain their motor functions. For example, two studies published in Nature on August 23 showed that two patients who were unable to speak due to severe paralysis were able to speak with unprecedented accuracy and speed through the use of invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. communicate with others.

Compared with previous "helmet-type" non-invasive brain-computer interface devices, invasive brain-computer interfaces can collect higher-quality EEG signals, which is helpful for subsequent decoding and signal processing.

In China, brain-computer interface devices have not yet been approved for human clinical trials. There are more than 1 million patients with disorders of consciousness in our country, and the number is increasing at a frequency of 80,000 to 100,000 every year. The patients have varying degrees of visual impairment, movement impairment, language impairment, etc., and they may all be beneficiaries of brain-computer interface technology in the future.

According to a research report by consulting firm McKinsey, the market size related to brain-computer interfaces is expected to reach US$70 billion to US$200 billion between 2030 and 2040. There is an urgent need for brain-computer interfaces in medical applications, and the market has broad prospects.

However, considering that the research and development of brain-computer interface products is still in its early stages, and technology iterations and technology trends are still uncertain, some people in the industry suggest paying attention to surgical service providers of brain-computer interfaces.
Dongguan Jianpeng Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd
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