The three reasons that led the United States to ban Elon Musk’s chips in humans

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned Neuralink testing their chips on humans. A hard blow to Elon Musk recently revealed by Reuters, although the rejection is from 2022.

Neither Musk’s company nor the FDA spoke about the issue that is now sweeping the world. “One year after the rejection, Neuralink is still working on the agency’s concerns,” Reuters reports.

But what were the FDA’s motives for banning human testing?

The first thing we must know is the foundation of Neuralink. The company created by Elon Musk in 2016 seeks to launch a brain implant to treat conditions such as paralysis and blindness.

So far, he has only carried out experiments on animals such as monkeys. Musk even showed in a video how one of them, with the Neuralink chip in his brain, could play Pong on a computer.

The FDA’s reasons for banning Elon Musk’s chip in humans

However, to make the passage to humans, it is necessary to meet a set of requirements established by the FDA.

The main concerns of the government agency are three:

  • The safety of the device’s lithium battery. Lithium is a metal, located between the alkalis, which allows any element to be energized. Tesla, another of Elon Musk’s companies, uses lithium for the batteries of their electric cars.
  • The possibility of the very small implant wires migrating to other areas of the brain. We are talking about elements with millimeter sizes, which can easily get lost in the person’s brain, further exacerbating their difficulties.
  • How to remove the device without damaging brain tissue. Given the fact that the chip can be damaged, how should experts remove it with all the protection of the case?
  • Musk was defending himself in November 2022 during a Neuralink show-and-tell. The tycoon indicated: “We are now confident that the Neuralink device is ready for humans, so timing is a function of the FDA approval process.

    The hierarch even said that he expected the chip ready for humans “in six months”, considering it “safe enough for his own children”.

    There is still a way to go

    Reuters spoke with Kip Ludwig, former director of the Neural Engineering Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States.

    According to the scientist, Elon Musk’s company “does not seem to have the necessary mindset and experience to bring this to market in the short term.”

    Criticism of the company does not only cover its use in humans. In 2022, he was denounced for the treatment of animals, which not only resulted in the deaths of some, but also in their previous suffering.

    What will happen with Neuralink? Will he get the green light at some point?

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