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Neuralink Could Head to the UK for Next Round of Clinical Trials as Brain-Computer Interface Startups Boom

Last Updated May 31, 2024 1:49 PM
James Morales
Last Updated May 31, 2024 1:49 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Neuralink has opened a patient registry in the UK.
  • As the firm prepares for its next round of clinical trials, the move suggests it could enroll patients in the UK.
  • The country is already home to several startups working on the technology.

The UK is home to a thriving ecosystem of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) startups. But the most well-known player in the space –  Neuralink – has yet to make any moves in the country.

However, on Friday, May 31, the company opened a patient registry that could pave the way for its next round of clinical trials to take place in the UK.

Neuralink Trials Go International

Having successfully completed its first BCI implant in a paralyzed patient in January, Neuralink is making preparations for an expanded clinical investigation of the technology. 

The firm has sought approval  from the FDA to enroll ten people for the next round of US trials. But it has also opened registration for patients in Canada and now the UK.

While Neuralink hasn’t confirmed any plans for the country, the UK Patient Registry “allows us to determine your preliminary eligibility for future Neuralink clinical investigations in the United Kingdom” the company’s website states. 

If the firm does venture across the Atlantic, it will find itself in the company of around a dozen other startups working on BCIs or associated technologies.

BCI Startups in the UK

Whereas Neuralink’s devices are inserted inside the skull, some of the UK’s leading BCI startups are focused on developing non-invasive solutions.

Founded in 2017, CoMind  is developing new ways to monitor and study the brain to help assess and treat complex neurological disorders. 

In a similar vein, Gowerlabs  has created a wearable near-infrared spectroscopy system to provide on-the-go brain scanning for a more in-depth picture of neural activity than traditional, static techniques provide.

Away from the medical field, MyndPlay’s “brainwave headset” and software lets users play video games  and interact with apps and movies using their minds.

AI Firms Get in on the Action

Alongside startups building novel BCI devices, the UK is also home to a wave of AI developers working to leverage brain data. 


For instance, Lymbic AI has designed a brainwave-based authentication technique that could serve as an alternative to existing biometric solutions. 

Meanwhile, BIOS is working on AI systems that can read and write neural data as a kind of programming language, giving a whole new meaning to the concept of biohacking and promising to open up new digital treatments for neurological disorders.

Among the various technologies that fall under the BCI umbrella, there are both those that rival and those that complement Neuralink. What form the tech will take in the years to come remains to be seen, but UK-based startups will certainly be along for the ride.

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