Elon Musk once said his brain implant company, Neuralink, will make the paralyzed walk, the blind see and eventually turn people into cyborgs, however, the firm is still struggling to get clinical-trial approval to achieve such a goal.
On at least four occasions since 2019, Musk has predicted that his medical device company, Neuralink, would soon start human trials of a revolutionary brain implant to treat intractable conditions such as paralysis and blindness.
Yet the company, founded in 2016, didn’t seek permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until early 2022, and the agency rejected the application, Reuters reported citing seven current and former employees.
In explaining the decision to Neuralink, the agency outlined dozens of issues the company must address before human testing, a critical milestone on the path to final product approval, the staffers said.
The agency’s major safety concerns involved the device’s lithium battery; the potential for the implant’s tiny wires to migrate to other areas of the brain; and questions over whether, and how the device can be removed without damaging brain tissue, the employees said.
A year after the rejection, Neuralink is still working through the agency’s concerns. Three staffers said they were skeptical the company could quickly resolve the issues, despite Musk’s latest prediction at a November 30 presentation that the company would secure FDA human-trial approval this spring.
Such FDA rejections do not mean a company will ultimately fail to gain the agency’s human-testing approval. But the agency’s pushback signals substantial concerns, according to more than a dozen experts, in FDA device-approval processes.
German tech fair focuses on sustainability in consumer electronics
BERLIN, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) — As one of the world’s leading trade fairs for consumer electronics, the five-day IFA 2023 opened here on Friday with over 2,000 exhibitors from 48 countries and regions, a much greater scale than last year.
“In addition to all the historic brands you know and love at IFA, 30 percent of exhibitors are new this year,” Oliver Merlin, managing director of IFA Management, said in a statement issued on Friday.
According to the organizer, sustainability is a major priority of the trade fair. Ahead of IFA’s 100th birthday next year, the 2023 event for the first time dedicated an exhibit area to highlighting sustainability. Besides, it will have multiple forums to discuss how consumer electronic enterprises could develop in a more sustainable approach.
According to IFA official website, nearly 1,300 Chinese exhibitors have registered in this year’s event. Chinese companies such as Hisense, TCL and Haier have occupied some of the largest exhibit areas with various products.
While delivering a keynote speech on Friday, Hisense Group’s President Yu Zhitao said the company looks forward to expanding its overseas market share.
“In order to be more and more user-centric, we are upgrading and optimizing our products and services to meet consumer needs,” he said.
International Congress of Basic Science kicks off in Beijing
The inaugural International Congress of Basic Science (ICBS) took place in Beijing on Sunday with a theme of “Advanced Science for Humanity.”
The conference lasts two weeks, with over 800 top-notch scientists and scholars gathering to discuss frontier research in the fields of mathematics, theoretical physics, theoretical computer and information science.
Shing-Tung Yau, president of the International Congress of Basic Science and a Fields Medal winner, said in the opening speech that he is expecting the academic exchanges at the conference to contribute to the development of the world’s basic science knowledge. “I hope the renowned international scholars learn more about China and the young scholars learn from the best and set their goals.”
The scientists attending the conference include eight Fields Medal winners, four Turing Award winners, one Nobel Prize laureate and more than 50 academicians from different countries.
The conference is hosted by the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, China Association for Science and Technology, and the International Consortium of Chinese Mathematicians.
European Space Agency launches Jupiter moons explorer
PARIS, April 14 (Xinhua) — The European Space Agency (ESA) launched on Friday an Ariane 5 rocket carrying its Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
According to the ESA, the successful launch marks the beginning of an ambitious voyage to uncover the secrets of the ocean worlds on Jupiter’s three largest moons: Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, which hold quantities of water under their surfaces in volumes far greater than in Earth’s oceans.
“These planet-sized moons offer us tantalizing hints that conditions for life could exist other than here on our ‘pale blue dot’,” the ESA said in its press release.
Over the next two-and-half weeks, Juice will deploy its various antennas and instrument booms, including a 16-meter-long radar antenna, a 10.6-meter-long magnetometer boom, and various other instruments that will study the environment of Jupiter and the subsurface of the icy moons, the agency said.
Juice will also monitor Jupiter’s complex magnetic, radiation, and plasma environment in depth and its interplay with the moons, thus studying the Jupiter system as an archetype for gas giant systems across the Universe.
Juice has been designed for an eight-year cruise with flybys of Earth and Venus to slingshot it to Jupiter. It will make 35 flybys of the three large moons while orbiting Jupiter, before changing orbits to Ganymede, said the agency.
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