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In the latest of his scientific updates, tech billionaire Elon Musk's Neuralink company has sought permission to test its brain chip implant on human beings soon. On a livestream on Wednesday, the Tesla CEO said that the Neuralink team is in the process of asking US regulators to allow them to test the device.

Elon Musk further stated that the company should be able to put the implant in a human brain as part of a clinical trial in about six months, though that timeline is far from certain.

Elon Musk's company Neuralink is one of the many that is developing chip to connect the human with the AI. The effort aims to treat brain disorders by connecting the brain with computers. 

According to reports, the Neuralink device that is the size of a large coin is designed to be implanted in the skull, with ultra-thin wires going directly into the brain. Musk said the first two applications in people would be restoring vision and helping people with little or no ability to operate their muscles rapidly use digital devices.

He said he also envisions that in someone with a broken neck, signals from the brain could be bridged to Neuralink devices in the spinal cord.

“We're confident there are no physical limitations to enabling full body functionality," said Elon Musk, who recently took over Twitter and is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.

In experiments by other teams, implanted sensors have let paralyzed people use brain signals to operate computers and move robotic arms. In a 2018 study in the journal PLOS ONE, three participants with paralysis below the neck affecting all of their limbs used an experimental brain-computer interface being tested by the consortium BrainGate. The interface records neural activity from a small sensor in the brain to navigate things like email and apps.

A recent study in the journal Nature, by scientists at the Swiss research center NeuroRestore, identified a type of neuron activated by electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, allowing nine patients with chronic spinal cord injury to walk again.

Researchers have also been working on brain and machine interfaces for restoring vision. 

(With inputs from AP)

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