Elon Musk has announced that Neuralink — his brain-interface technology company — is hoping to implant the first microchip in human beings by next year.
Musk co-founded Neuralink in 2016. The company is producing a chip that would be implanted in people’s brains. The chip would record and stimulate brain activity and is supposed to have medical applications that would treat neurological disorders and serious spinal cord injuries.
In a live-streamed interview at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit on Monday, Musk asked about Neuralink’s intentions for 2022.
In response, the richest person in the world said: “Neuralink’s working well in monkeys and we’re actually doing just a lot of testing and just confirming that it’s very safe and reliable and the Neuralink device can be removed safely.”
He added: “We hope to have this in our first humans — which will be people that have severe spinal cord injuries like tetraplegics, quadriplegics — next year, pending FDA approval.”
Musk said that Neuralink’s “standards for implanting the device are substantially higher than what the FDA requires.”
Musk re-iterated the 2022 timeline in a post on Twitter. “Progress will accelerate when we have devices in humans (hard to have nuanced conversations with monkeys) next year,” he said.
Musk has a history of over-promising
In February, Musk said that Neuralink could start implanting the chips in people’s brains by the end of 2021. Earlier in 2019, the billionaire said that his company hoped to start human testing by the end of 2020.
This isn’t the first time that Musk over-promised and under-delivered projects on a timeline. In April, Neuralink released a video of a monkey playing video gaming using a Neuralink device.
After the company raised $205 million in July, Neuralink said that the funds will be used to develop its chip to enable quadriplegics to control electronic devices using their minds. Quadriplegia or tetraplegia is the full or partial paralysis of the arms and legs.