For the first time, doctors are preparing to test a brain-computer interface that can be implanted onto a human brain, no open surgery required.
This neural implant accesses your brain through the jugular vein, where the brain-computer interface enables paralysed people use their hands, using only their thoughts.
The first endovascular neural interface, the Stentrode is a minimally invasive implantable brain device that can interpret signals from the brain for patients with paralysis. Implanted via the jugular vein, the Stentrode is placed inside the brain in the command-control centre, known as the motor cortex, but without the need for open brain surgery.
The signals are captured and sent to a wireless unit implanted in the chest, which sends them to an external receiver. We are building a software suite that enables the patient to learn how to control a computer operating system and set of applications that interact with assistive technologies. This technology has the potential to enable patients with paralysis to take back digital control of their world, without having to move a muscle. Synchron is currently preparing for pilot clinical trials of the Stentrode™ to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this breakthrough technology.
Synchron is a company spun out of the University of Melbourne and still has close ties to the the Vascular Bionics Laboratory in the Dept. of Medicine, Australia, but it now based in Silicon Valley, California. Their mission is to develop safe neurotechnology that overcomes human limitations.
Synchron has its corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley, in Campbell, California and is funded by Defence Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DARPA have funded critical scientific research that has led to the development of significant advances: the internet, mobile phones and GPS.
More recently, the focus has turned to neuroscience. DARPA has provided large scale funding for cutting edge research to scientists willing to think outside the box.
This kind of technology restores a level of independence that seemed like science fiction only a few years ago.