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Musk's Neuralink Rival Synchron Has Begun Human Trial Of Its Brain-Computer Interface Stentrode In The US

Neuralink, co-founded by Elon Musk, is the first neurotechnology company to develop implantable brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), a technology that can help study, treat and prevent neurological disorders.

As per recent news reports, Synchron, owned by Thomas J. Oxley, has also developed a brain-computer interface that competes with Musk's Neuralink. The company has already enrolled six severely paralysed patients for human testing in the United States. The interface will enable the patients to control digital gadgets using only their thoughts.

What's Syncron New Brain Implant?

Synchron has created an endovascular brain-computer interface that uses the brain's natural path, the blood vessels, to reach every corner. The technology helps access untouched areas of the brain through blood vessels and helps in diagnosing and treating neurological diseases like Parkinson's.

The brain implant combines and advances three current research areas: neuromodulation, neuroprosthetics and neurodiagnostics.

How Does It Work?

Synchron's brain-computer interface aims to enable paralysed individuals to use computers and phones only through their brain processes.

Synchron has named the device Stentrode. In a statement, Syncron has stated that Stentrode is of a size of a paper clip and is implanted into the brain's motor cortex through the jugular vein in a minimally invasive operation.

It transforms brain activity into a standardised digital language, allowing patients to accomplish ordinary tasks such as texting, online shopping, emailing and accessing telehealth services without having to use their hands.

More On Stentrode

This is the first time the device will be tested in the United States. As per news reports, four Australian patients have already had the gadget implanted and tested. When it was proved to be safe, the trial was suggested to be made on other patients.

The new trials are "a big milestone for those living with paralysis," according to Thomas J. Oxley, CEO and founder of Synchron, who is also a neuro interventionist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Oxley adds that Stentrode is supplied through a patient's vein until it reaches the brain, rather than drilling through the skull.

The device expands to line the walls of the blood vessels. It consists of a net-like material with 16 sensors attached. The interface is connected to a chest-mounted electronic device that converts brain signals from the motor cortex, the region of the brain that generates movement signals, into orders for a laptop computer.

Synchron is the only company that has received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorisation to conduct clinical studies of a permanently implantable brain-computer interface (BCI).

What To Expect?

The Stentrode brain implant, if found to be effective, might be commercialised as a device to help paralysis patients restore their freedom and quality of life.

Command, the company's new clinical trial, is being conducted under the FDA's first investigational device exemption (IDE) which allows the device in a clinical trial to gather data on its safety and effectiveness.

"The Command study progresses Synchron's technology development through the feasibility stage as we prepare for our pivotal trial," added Oxley.