Neuralink is no longer first in the brain-machine implantation market.
Neuralink has just had its hair cut at the post. Elon Musk’s company specializing in human-machine interfaces has always had the ambition to implant its chips in brains has so far been content with animal guinea pigs. An exercise that has not always been crowned with success: a few months ago, several animal protection associations accused the billionaire of letting his experimental subjects die in extreme suffering.
For the moment, Neuralink has not yet reached the stage of the first human tests, but one of its competitors Synchron just beat him. The firm has just registered its first human guinea pig, reports the site of Bloomberg. Unlike Elon Musk, she does not plan to implant microwires directly connected to neurons, but rather to go through blood vessels to communicate with the brain. A bias that seems to reassure American regulators. Launched in 2016, Synchron obtained FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval in July 2021 to begin its first clinical trials on humans.
If the first trials prove conclusive, it is probably to be expected that the regulator will give its approval for tests on a wider range of patients. The marketing of the device – if it is validated one day – should however not take place for several years. Anyway, this new step further widens the gap between the two companies rivals.
True to its ambitions, Neuralink has not yet said its last word. The company may not be unanimous with regulators, it stands out with much higher fundraising, but also by its ambitions. Not only Elon Musk plans to cure certain pathologies ranging from tinnitus to paralysis, but in addition the billionaire also intends to revolutionize mixed interfaces, by allowing humans to control a computer by thought.