Some of Neuralink’s competitors, such as Precision Neuroscience, are developing implants. Sit on top of the mindor in the case of Synchron, a stent-like device that is is inserted into a blood vessel and sits against the brain.. These devices aim to allow people with paralysis to communicate using digital devices by reading the electrical patterns generated by groups of neurons.

Neverlink isn’t exactly operating in secrecy—it is. Livestream demonstrations of its technology over the years And Published a white paper in 2019.But some researchers say the company isn’t even the most transparent about its research. (Neuralink did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

There have been reports, including by Wired, that Neuralink’s brain implant Monkeys can cause problems.Arthur Caplan, a biologist at New York University, says the company should be more forthcoming about its research. “I think you owe it to your subject to say, ‘Our science is right,’ and it has to be verified by peers, not by people who are part of the company,” he says. “There is a moral obligation to protect this subject.”

Clearly, Neuralink is not legally obligated to disclose details about its human and animal testing.

The FDA requires all phases of drug trials to be registered on ClinicalTrials.gov, a government database that includes information such as the number of participants enrolled in the study, trial site locations, and the results the trial reviewed. will take But feasibility studies of medical devices that are in early development are not required to be registered with the site. These studies may include only a few subjects.

Much of what is known about the Neuralink trial comes from a The brochure was made available by the company last fall. It states that if people have quadriplegia due to spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease and are at least 22 years old. The initial study involves several clinic visits over 18 months, with long-term follow-up lasting up to five years. According to the brochure, the study will take about six years to complete.

But Caplan And others The public seems to deserve more information about the study and the participant’s current condition.

“People care a lot about their brains. It’s the most personal thing for us,” says Justin Sanchez, a technical fellow at Battelle, a nonprofit research organization in Ohio that has conducted human BCI research. “When we start talking about making medical devices for the brain, there needs to be transparency.”

Being more open about its research could also prevent misinformation about what Neuralink’s technology is actually capable of. BCIs are not yet mind-reading devices in the way that people might think, Sanchez says. Subjects go through a training period in which they are taught to think about a desired action, such as moving a cursor. The implant captures the brain signals that encode that intention. Over time, the BCI software learns what the signals associated with that intent look like and translates them into a command that fulfills the user’s intent.

“There’s a big difference between what’s being done today between understanding complex ideas in a very small subset of neurons and more sophisticated cognitive types of things,” Sanchez says. The latter would require much more sophisticated neurotechnology — possibly multiple implants in different parts of the brain that record from many, many neurons, he says. The Neuralink device is implanted in the area of ​​the brain that controls the intention to move.

Caplan says “There is a public fear of mind manipulation. In a ___ 2022 survey A majority of American respondents, conducted by the Pew Research Center, said the widespread use of brain chips to improve cognitive function would be a bad idea. “Launching it completely in the dark is not the way to get the public on board.”