According to a recent report by Bloomberg, thousands of people have expressed interest in receiving brain implants from Neuralink, a startup founded by Elon Musk. Although the company has yet to implant its device in a human, it plans to conduct human trials on 11 people next year and hopes to operate on over 22,000 individuals by 2030. Earlier this year, Neuralink received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to launch human trials for its device, which Musk has described as a "Fitbit in your skull." This approval came after the FDA initially rejected Neuralink's bid for human testing due to safety concerns.
Neuralink aims to create a symbiotic relationship between humans and machines, allowing people to send messages or play games using only their thoughts. However, the company's immediate focus is on helping individuals with neurological disorders. The surgical procedure to implant the device involves a craniectomy, in which a portion of the skull is removed, followed by the insertion of electrodes and superthin wires into the brain by a robot. The device, which replaces the removed portion of the skull, is so thin that its threads are about 1/14 the width of a single strand of human hair.
Neuralink has conducted implantation surgeries on animals, including pigs and monkeys, using the robot. Musk has expressed a sense of urgency for Neuralink to keep up with other brain-computer startups, such as Synchron and Onward, which have already begun human trials. However, some caution has been expressed within Neuralink, with one executive emphasizing the need for careful progress to avoid any major setbacks.
In conclusion, Neuralink has garnered significant interest from potential patients, and the company plans to conduct human trials next year. The device aims to establish a connection between humans and machines, with potential applications for individuals with neurological disorders. While Neuralink faces competition from other brain-computer startups, the company seeks to advance its technology while ensuring a cautious approach to avoid any significant failures.