Elon Musk is reportedly considering an investment in Neuralink’s rival brain chip company |

Elon Musk is reportedly considering an investment in Neuralink’s rival brain chip company |

Neuralink, a company co-founded by Elon Musk, has been working on an implantable brain-machine interface since 2016. While it previously demonstrated its progress by showing a macaque monkey controlling the cursor in a game of pong, it has yet to humanize trials. Now, according to Portal, Musk has reached out to competitor Synchron in recent weeks to discuss a potential investment.

It’s unclear what kind of deal Musk offered – whether it’s a collaboration or a financial investment – as neither player has responded or confirmed the report with the news outlet. Portal sources also said that a deal is not certain and that Synchron has yet to decide whether to accept Musk’s offer. Apparently, the manager reached out to Synchron’s CEO after expressing frustration to Neuralink employees at the company’s slow progress.

Neuralink announced back in 2019 that it would seek approval for human trials in 2020. In January of this year, the company began searching for a clinical trials director who would oversee testing of its medical device on human subjects. However, that hasn’t happened yet, and the FDA has yet to disclose how far Neuralink is in securing its approval.

Meanwhile, Synchron announced in July that it had implanted its brain-computer interface in the motor cortex of a human patient in the United States for the first time. Physicians at Mount Sinai West in New York did so as part of the company’s COMMAND study, which aims to evaluate the safety of the synchronous implant in patients with severe paralysis. The company also conducted a study in Australia that found four people were still safe with their implants after a year.

Like Neuralink, Synchron also hopes to give people with limited mobility the ability to control devices like smartphones and computers with their minds. This gives them the independence to email, text, and do various digital tasks. Earlier this year, Max Hodak, the co-founder of Neuralink, who left the company in 2021, announced that he had assumed an advisory role at Synchron. He also invested financially in the company’ given [his] Enthusiasm for what they do.”

However, it’s worth noting that Musk has reportedly been in talks with other Neuralink rivals in the past. Portal says it also reached out to Paradromics, the developer of brain-machine interfaces, in 2020, but those talks were ultimately cut short.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team independently from our parent company. Some of our stories contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may receive an affiliate commission.