Elon Musk’s futuristic brain chip startup Neuralink has received federal approval for its first in-human clinical trial, marking a major milestone for a company with big ambitions.
The company announced the approval by the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, saying in a tweet that it “represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many more people.”
We are excited to share that we have received FDA approval to begin our first human clinical study!
This is the result of the incredible work done by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that may one day…
— Neuralink (@neuralink) May 25, 2023
Musk has pitched Neuralink’s technology as a possible help for people with paralysis. The technology involves implanting tiny chips inside people’s skulls to relay electrical signals from the brain to computers.
Neuralink did not disclose the nature of the FDA approval or when clinical trials would begin. It simply said: “Recruitment is not yet open for our clinical trial. We will announce more details on this soon!”
Neuralink is catching up with competitors. A rival company, Synchron, received approval for a similar test in 2021.
Musk unveiled Neuralink to the public in 2020 during a spectacular livestreamed event, during which he showed pigs with brain chip implants running on a treadmill and walking around in a pen. They showed wirelessly collected data from the chips representing the firing of the pig’s neurons and how the information could be used to predict the position of the pig’s joints.
But behind the scenes, Musk’s company has been plagued by disagreements and executive departures, according to the first Luck Reporting.