Brain-Computer Interface to Give a Normal Life to People with Paralysis

Brain-Computer Interface to Give a Normal Life to People with Paralysis

Synchron has become the first to implant a brain-computer interface in a human patient.

Brain-computer interfaces have become a practical reality in the US. Synchron says it has become the first in the country to implant a BCI in a human patient. The procedure, performed at Mount Sinai West in New York, represents the first such implant to occur in the U.S. using an endovascular BCI approach, which does not require invasive open-brain surgery. It aims to gauge the usefulness and safety of BCIs for providing hands-free device control to people with severe paralysis. Synchron has caught the attention of the brain-computer interface (BCI) field because its device, Stentrode, can be inserted into the brain without cutting through a person's skull or damaging their tissue.

Brain-computer interface in the human patient:

Synchron made huge headlines in the industry as it announced the first human BCI implant in the US. The surgery went "extremely well" and allowed the patient to return home 48 hours later. This surgery was special because of its implications and huge potential. The process is very similar to implanting a coronary stent and takes just a few minutes.

It may be a long time before physicians are able to offer Synchron BCIs to patients. The company's Stentrode in the motor cortex of a participant in Synchron's COMMAND demo. Synchron's BrainOS technology platform collects those signals from a receiver unit implanted in the user's chest, then translates them in real-time into clicks and keystrokes on a computer or mobile device.

It also represents a competitive victory Elon Musk's Neuralink has yet to receive FDA permission for its own implant.  The company said it raised $205 million in a Series C round from investors including Google Ventures, Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. In the future, Synchron hopes to extend its technology to one-day help millions of paralyzed people regain the ability to interact with their personal devices.

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