Elon Musk’s brain implant company Neuralink is now hiring a director of clinical trials, an indication that the company’s long-held goal of implanting chips into human brains is getting closer.
This new position would be tasked with overseeing the startup’s long-promised human trials of its medical device, it notes.
Last month, Musk told the Wall Street Journal that Neuralink hoped to implant its device in human brains sometime in 2022. However, he has made similar predictions in the past that proved overly optimistic, including in 2019, when he said during a presentation that the device would be in human skulls by the following year.
The first human test that medical device makers must perform on the way to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval is known as a feasibility test. Next, after a submission, review and approval process with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) based on the feasibility test, is a pivotal device test.
The job description for the U.S.-based position promises that the applicant will “work closely with some of the most innovative physicians and engineers,” as well as “early participants in Neuralink’s clinical trial.” It also indicates that the job will mean leading and building “the team responsible for enabling Neuralink’s clinical research activities,” as well as adhering to regulations.
Last year, another company working on brain-machine interfaces, Synchron, said the FDA had approved its planned feasibility study. Synchron is currently in the recruitment stage, a spokeswoman said. As for Neuralink, it is unclear exactly how far along they are with this process. Representatives for Neuralink and the FDA did not respond to requests for comment from the press.
Neuralink’s brain implant, which Musk has said already allows monkeys to play video games with only their thoughts, is intended to help treat a variety of neurological disorders, such as certain neurodegenerative diseases. For the same reason, it is worth remembering that in the face of the deployment of this kind of technology, a debate on neuro-rights has already taken place, including legal initiatives to support it.