Elon Musk’s brain-chip company, Neuralink, has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct its first human tests. Neuralink aims to restore vision and mobility by connecting brains to computers. While the company does not have immediate plans to recruit participants, the FDA has acknowledged the approval. An earlier attempt by Neuralink to obtain FDA approval was rejected on safety grounds. The company’s microchips, tested in monkeys, interpret brain signals and transmit information to devices using Bluetooth. However, experts caution that extensive testing is necessary to overcome technical and ethical challenges before the technology can be widely available.

Neuralink’s brain implants could potentially treat conditions such as paralysis and blindness, as well as enable disabled individuals to use computers and mobile technology. Elon Musk has previously suggested that the technology could help alleviate concerns about humans being replaced by artificial intelligence. The company, founded by Musk in 2016, has faced setbacks and repeatedly overestimated the speed at which it can implement its plans. Neuralink’s initial goal was to begin implanting chips in human brains in 2020, which was later revised to 2022. The company also faced scrutiny in 2022 for alleged animal welfare violations in its work, although it denied the claims. Neuralink’s FDA approval for human tests follows a recent breakthrough by Swiss researchers, where a paralyzed man could walk by simply thinking about it, thanks to a system of brain implants.

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