(ECNS) -- Tech billionaire Elon Musk said Wednesday that he expects a wireless brain chip developed by his company Neuralink to begin human clinical trials in six months, though that timeline is far from certain.
The brain chip is about the size of a large coin and designed to be implanted in the skull, with ultra-thin wires going directly into the brain, according to U.S. media reports.
Musk said the first two applications would be restoring vision and helping people with little or no ability to operate their muscles rapidly.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin, Texas, Neuralink has been conducting tests on animals in recent years as it seeks approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin clinical trials in people, Reuters reported.
"We want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work well before putting a device into a human," Musk said during a presentation at Neuralink headquarters that lasted nearly three hours.
"Even if someone has never had vision, ever, like they were born blind, we believe we can still restore vision," he said.
Musk also said he plans to get one himself. "You could have a Neuralink device implanted right now and you wouldn’t even know. I mean, hypothetically...In fact, in one of these demos, I will," CNBC cited him as saying.
Musk reiterated that possibility on Twitter after the event.
But the New York Times doubted that Musk's presentation had offered anything significantly new from previous demonstrations of the device.
"He continued to claim that the implant could make computer control possible for people with paralysis outside of a lab setting. But experts in the field questioned whether the demonstration showed major progress with the device, especially given the breadth of work underway nationwide," the New York Times reported.
Neuralink was founded in 2016 by Musk and a group of other scientists and engineers. It is one of many groups working on linking brains to computers, efforts aimed at helping treat brain disorders, overcoming brain injuries, and other applications.