At a "show and tell" recruitment event, Elon Musk provided an update on the brain-implant Neuralink's technology, saying that human trials are about "six months" away.
According to Musk, two of Neuralink's technologies will seek to give blind people back their visions, particularly for those who have been born blind. Another type of technology produced by Neuralink will bring back "full body functionality" for those who have reversed, or broken, spinal cords.
"Obviously, we want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work well before putting a device in a human, but we're submitted, I think, most of our paperwork to the FDA," Elon Musk said in a statement.
The primary purpose of Neuralink is to make something that can easily be placed in the brain so as to properly monitor brain activity. The device has already been tested out in monkeys in 2019 and in pigs in 2020. This new device's main role is to help those who suffer from paralysis "regain independence through the control of computers and mobile devices", according to the company.
"Even if we do not succeed with that problem, we are confident at this point that we will succeed at solving many brain injury issues-spine injury issues-along the way," Musk said in a statement.
A neurosurgeon and neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, Daniel Yoshor, however, told the New York Times that the Neuralink technologies are stately and yet it "does not represent a dramatic advance in restoring or enhancing brain function." Yoshor said that he does not foresee any significant enhancements to bodily functionality as a result of this new technology.
Because the chip has not yet been tested on live people, there have been many skeptical feelings, particularly expressed by Xing Chen, assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
"Neuralink is a company [that] doesn't have to answer to shareholders," Chen told CNBC. "I don't know how much oversight is involved, but I think it's very important for the public to always keep in mind that before anything has been approved by the FDA, or any governmental regulatory body, all claims need to be very, very skeptically examined."