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Elon Musk
Via Twitter (@WSJ)

Elon Musk’s brain chips will be ready for human implantation next year

Created by his company Neuralink, the technology aims to help restore functionality to those with paralysis

Elon Musk has said that the microchips developed by his brain-interface technology company Neuralink will be ready for implantation in humans next year. 

The chips – which will be implanted into people’s brains – are designed to record and stimulate brain activity, with the aim of helping those with serious spinal-cord injuries and neurological disorders.

Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit this week, Musk said he doesn’t want to “raise hopes unreasonably” but is “increasingly confident” that the technology is nearly ready for humans (pending FDA approval).

“Neuralink’s working well in monkeys, and we’re actually doing a lot of testing, and confirming that it’s very safe and reliable, and that the Neuralink device can be removed safely,” he explained. “I think we have a chance with Neuralink to restore full-body functionality to someone who has a spinal cord injury.”

As reported by Insider, Musk has a “history of overpromising and under-delivering on project timelines”, previously claiming that Neuralink’s chips would be ready for human implantation in both 2020 and 2021. 

In April, Neuralink released a video of a monkey playing a video game using one of the company’s devices. At first, the monkey is physically moving a joystick, while the microchip records its brain activity. When the joystick is unplugged, the monkey is still able to control the game via brain signals being relayed by the Neuralink chip. As Musk tweeted at the time, the chip should theoretically “enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind”.

In July last year, Musk announced that he was working on a microchip that would allow wearers to stream music directly into their brains – it’s unclear if this is the same device.

Watch Musk’s interview with The Wall Street Journal below.