The Age of Brain-Computer Interface Begins!

By Jay Soni

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Synchron performs the world’s first human procedure for applying Brain-Computer Interface.

Brain-Computer Interface, or BCI, is an emerging technology that synthesizes signals from the brain into commands for a computer. The BCI acts as an intermediate between the computer and the brain. The technology aims to be used as a medical treatment for various mental and physical illnesses like paralysis.

A closer-up view at Synchron’s Stentrode device COURTESY : SYNCHRON

Synchron, an endovascular BCI company has announced the first human implant in the United States. The company has already implanted devices in four Australian patients and has observed no side effects due to it, allowing the patients to send whatsapp messages and shop online. Synchron is known for its technology, stentrode, as it can be inserted in the human brain without cutting through the person’s skull or damaging any of the tissues.

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This procedure is considered to be a breakthrough for scalable BCI applications using endovascular BCI approach, which eliminates the need of invasive open-brain surgery. A doctor makes an incision in the patient’s neck and feeds the stentrode via a catheter to the jugular veins into the blood vessels reaching to the motor cortex.

Further the stentrode is connected to a computing device which is implanted in the person’s chest. This is done by making a tunnel underneath the person’s skin for connecting a wire and a pocket for placing the device. Stentrode reads the signals from neurons and the computing device amplifies the signal and shares it to a computer via bluetooth. This technology, though it sounds very sick, is far less invasive then the current state-of-art technology.

The device promises patients the ability to control the mouse of their computer and send text messages and shop online. “Our technology is for the millions of people who have lost the ability to use their hands to control digital devices. We’re excited to advance a scalable BCI solution to market, one that has the potential to transform so many lives.” said Tom Oxley, MD, PhD, CEO & Founder, Synchron.


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