Musk, a 1997 College and Wharton graduate and the TIME 2021 person of the year, told the Wall Street Journal that Neuralink hopes to implant the device into human brains sometime in 2022. Neuralink aims to treat neurological disorders using the implant.
Musk’s company is in the process of hiring a clinical trial director, which indicates that Neuralink could soon begin clinical trials with humans for the device. The trial director position involves working with the “most innovative doctors and top engineers” to oversee Neuralink’s first round of Clinical Trials, according to the job listing.
“The company’s mission is to develop brain-machine interfaces that treat various brain related ailments, with the eventual goal of creating a whole brain interface capable of more closely connecting biological and artificial intelligence,” Neuralink wrote in its blog post.
In April 2021, Neuralink released a video of a monkey playing the video game Pong with its mind alone. The brain implant records from electrodes in the monkey's motor cortex, which correspond to neurons involved in planning the monkey's hand movement, according to the video.
It is currently unclear where Neuralink is in their trial process, Bloomberg reported. Typically, clinical trial directors are hired early on in a company’s interactions with FDA to help maximize the chances of FDA approval.
Musk said that he's optimistic about the potential for Neuralink and its progress towards beginning human trials at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council summit.
“I think we have a chance with Neuralink to restore full-body functionality to someone who has a spinal cord injury. Neuralink’s working well in monkeys, and we’re actually doing just a lot of testing and just confirming that it’s very safe and reliable, and the Neuralink device can be removed safely,” Musk said.