Neuralink is under a federal investigation due to its animal trial program for possible animal welfare violations.

According to the Reuters report, Elon Musk’s company, Neuralink, is under a federal investigation due to its animal trial program for possible animal welfare violations. It is the technology of the future because it may one day allow people to control machines with their thoughts.

Image source: Bold Business

Neuralink was founded in 2016 by Elon Musk and a group of engineers. They are allegedly working on a brain implant that it thinks can restore movement to disable individuals and treat other neurological conditions.

How does it work?

Neuralink’s innovations are focused on making brain-computer interfaces (BCI) so accessible and flexible that they just become a regular part of our society, similar to acquiring a pacemaker or having laser eye surgery. In the future, its implants might be used by thousands of individuals to treat a wide range of illnesses and wounds without anybody ever knowing. This technology aspires to enable the blind to see and the paralyzed to walk.

Neuralink chip         Image source: Road to VR

Neurosurgeons will use robotic surgery to install the device called Neuralink into the brain. It is a chip that could be inserted into the skull. The electrodes used in the procedure are attached to them via a number of insulated wires. After that, this gadget may operate smartphones and computers without touching them.

Neuralink could cure various medical conditions

With the aid of Neuralink, a variety of severe neurological conditions might be resolved, and by extending its reach to the nervous system, it would be even possible to recover from spinal injury-induced paralysis. All of the activities that take place inside the brain and nervous system are merely a sequence of electrical impulses. If we are able to decipher this language, we could read the messages passed between neurons and even add new ones. 

If this technology is a success, people who have significant physical limitations will be able to use smartphones and computers even better than someone who uses their hands. Elon Musk claims that with the use of this technology, even someone who has been blind their entire life may be able to see.

Progress of Neuralink so far

A macaque named Pager was able to mentally control a simple video game at a Neuralink demonstration, last year. The gadget transmitted the electrical signal generated by Pager’s neurons when he used a pong paddle directly to the computer running the game’s software. It is still alive and well at their facility, according to Neuralink, and his implant has already been successfully updated to the newest version.  They also succeeded in enhancing the chip’s capabilities and speed.

Neuralink has not yet received authorization from the US regulatory to proceed with human testing. Despite missing Musk’s publicly declared dates for beginning human trials, Neuralink applied to the Food and Drug Administration this year in order to do so. It can begin human clinical trials, according to Musk, in six months, as of last week.

Since 2018, almost 1,500 animals have died as a result of animal testing, according to a Reuters report. According to the news source, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Agriculture launched an inquiry recently under the Animal Welfare Act. According to reports, officials for Musk and Neuralink didn’t react to Reuters, and the USDA Inspector General’s office likewise declined to comment.

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