Commercial brain-computer interface approved for human trials

Clinical trials of the first commercial Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) system, developed by Synchron, have started in the United States. If the trials are deemed successful, the system could be used everywhere, and patients with paralysis could once again be in contact with the outside world.

At the initial stage, the Stentrode system (The prototype of which was Developed in 2016 by a DARPA funded research team)is tasked with confirming its safety, as well as the ability to effectively work with digital devices without the help of hands. Synchron Inc, the company that developed the system, is thus ahead of its well-known competitor in the face of Elon Musk’s Neuralink, which receives more funding, but has not yet fully formed the staff. Last year, Neuralink raised $205 million, while Synchron only raised $70 million (Not mentioned is the Backing of DARPA to the tune of 10 million$).

When implanted, Stentrode electrodes travel through the blood vessels to the brain (in Neuralink they are implanted directly into the skull), and the system begins to translate brain activity into electrical signals, allowing you to work with text messages, email, online shopping or other relatively simple tasks.

So far, Synchron said, such projects have received only permits for short-term series of experiments in the laboratory. However, if the new series of trials is successful, the program will be expanded to allow patients to use the systems on a long-term basis. The next step on the path toward approval would be a wider trial to test for efficacy. If the trials succeed, it will likely be several years before the Stentrode is available for sale.

Nueralink nears human testing of brain chip

Neuralink, the US neurotechnology firm co-founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, has begun recruiting key employees to run its clinical trials, signaling that it’s inching closer to starting human testing of its brain implants.

The company has posted advertisements to hire a clinical trial director and a clinical trial coordinator. The ads note that the staffers will “work closely with some of the most innovative doctors and top engineers, as well as working with Neuralink’s first clinical trial participants.” Neuralink said the director will lead and help build its clinical research team and will develop “regulatory interactions that come with a fast-paced and ever-evolving environment.” 

Neuralink has already tested its chips in the brains of a macaque monkey and a pig. The company raised eyebrows last April, when it posted footage purporting to show a monkey playing a video game with its mind.

The first human test subjects will be people with severe spinal injuries, such as quadriplegics, Musk said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council summit. “We have a chance with Neuralink to restore full-body functionality to someone who has a spinal cord injury,” he said.

Sources : Aroged.com

Bloomberg.com

RT.com