Elon Musk has revealed that his stealth neurotechnology start-up is poised to begin human clinical trials soon on brain implants.
The company, which has been pursuing the technology for years with Musk's financial backing and leadership, touted its initial results as promising for potentially treating conditions such as Alzheimer's, spinal injuries and blindness.
Neuralink executives said they're aiming for their first human clinical study in 2020.
While still many years away from reality – and no guarantee due to the incredible challenges associated with the brain – Neuralink implants hold promise for people with spinal injuries or serious neurological disorders. Other companies are pursuing similar technology.
4-day workweek:Is this the next big thing?
Millionaire? Who cares: How many Americans with $1 million feel wealthy?
Musk, who also serves as CEO of electric vehicle maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, emphasized that the implant development will progress "quite slowly" and that it's "quite difficult" to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration for such devices.
Nonetheless, he said it's worth the effort for the potential health benefits.
"I think it's important for us to address brain-related diseases," he said. "Whether it's an accident or congenital or any kind of brain-related disorder or a spinal disorder – if you know somebody who's broken their neck or broken their spine, we can solve that with a chip, and this is something that I think most people don't quite understand yet."
Musk said there are other possibilities in the long run, including telepathic communication among individuals with chips in their brains.
"At a kind of advanced long-term level ... if two people had a neural link, you'd be able to effectively have a sort of really high bandwidth telepathy" over radio waves, he said.
Neuralink's technology has been tested in monkeys, executives revealed.
Neuralink's beginnings: Elon Musk's Neuralink wants to plug into your brain
Musk said the company is "extremely sensitive" in work with the monkeys, which he said is done with University of California, Davis.
"A monkey has been able to control the computer with its brain," he said.
While the company's technological developments are notable, Musk said Tuesday's announcement was primarily for recruiting purposes.
"We really want to have the best talent in the world come and work at Neuralink," he said. "That's actually the primary purpose for this presentation."
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Elon Musk: Neuralink's brain implants aim for treatments, 'telepathy'