Brain-Computer Interface Is No Longer Science Fiction

23 August 22

On July 6th, Synchron successfully implanted their BCI device in a US patient. This brings the company even closer to getting their device eligible to be sold to the public. 

Currently, Synchron’s BCI device promises paralyzed users the ability to control the computer mouse without any physical touch. The founder and CEO of Synchron – Thomas Oxley – says that the digital world is already deeply rooted in every part of modern human existence, “but to use them, you need to use your fingers,”. That makes around 5.6 million people suffering from paralysis in the US excluded.

Mr. Oxley has also shared that shows like Black Mirror is already doing injustice to the technology which is still in its infancy. On more than one occasion in this hit TV show brain-computer interface was shown to be used in various dubious ways. Going as far as to trap human consciousness in a digital prison. 

“[Black Mirror is] so negative, and so dystopian. It’s gone to the absolute worst-case scenario … so much good stuff would have happened to have gotten to that point,” says the CEO of Synchron.

Currently the technology is being tested as a link between the human brain and a computer, moving a cursor and checking your e-mail is a far cry from the dystopian future portrayed in Black Mirror.

The best thing about Synchron’s BCI device is the relative ease of implantation, where the device is placed in the brain endovascularly. It involves cutting into the jugular vein in the neck, and from there feeding the device through until the brain is reached. The device then nestles itself on to the wall of the blood vessel.

The only other BCI device approved by the FDA for human trials is Utah Array developed by Blackrock Neurotech company. It requires a very invasive implantation procedure, where the patient’s scull needs to be cut open to insert the device into the brain.

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