The company wants to evaluate the possibility for participants to control a computer by thought
Neuralink now has the green light from the American authorities to carry out its trials on humans. Elon Musk’s company has indeed received validation from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to launch its first human clinical trial. The company is seeking to develop its N1 brain implant in conjunction with its R1 surgical robot and is therefore launching a call for guinea pigs, reports 01Net in particular.
The American agency validated Neuralink’s request in May 2023, after having swept it away in 2022. Neuralink waited until the start of the school year to broadcast its recruitment announcement. The clinical study is called PRIME. It is crucial in the strategy of the American company.
“During the study, the R1 robot will be used to surgically place the ultra-thin, flexible wires of the N1 implant in a region of the brain that controls movement intention,” writes Neuralink. The company is looking for people with quadriplegia due to spinal injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who are at least 22 years old, and are accompanied by a “consistent and reliable caregiver.”
Control a computer with your mind
This is a long-term study planned for six years. Once volunteers undergo surgery, they will have 18 months to test this “aesthetically invisible” implant. This is intended to record and wirelessly transmit brain signals to an application which decodes them to translate them into movement intention. The device must allow candidates “to control a cursor or computer keyboard using only their thoughts”.
The study will make it possible to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the N1 implant, the R1 robot and the associated application. Elon Musk’s company passed animal testing, but not without facing a barrage of criticism. It took the death of 1,500 animals since 2018, whether sheep, pigs or monkeys, to achieve good results.