Synchron, the chip that beat Elon Musk’s Neuralink: five questions and answers about its technology


The company synchro, based in New York, implanted a Stentrode chip in a patient, becoming the first human BCI implant in the United States. Left behind in the race neurolinkthe company of Elon Musk.

The surgical intervention occurred in mid-July, and the patient, who suffers from paralysis and whose name was not disclosed, remains in recovery after being discharged.

The procedure was performed at Mount Sinai West, led by clinical investigator Shahram Majidi, as part of Synchron’s COMMAND trial.

Let’s learn more about the topic in these five questions and answers.

What is the Synchron BCI?

BCI stands for Brain-Computer Interface. This allows to detect and wirelessly transmit the intention of the motor, using a patented digital language. to allow the patient to control their personal devices by simply pointing. The person is implanted with a Stentrode chip that allows access to a program, performing various communication functions.

How was the operation to implant the chip performed?

The procedure is minimally invasive: the Stentrode chip is implanted within the motor cortex of the brain, via the jugular vein, in an endovascular operation. It is not necessary to open the patient’s head, nor to carry out more dangerous operations. The patient was able to go home 48 hours after surgery, Dr. Majidi explained in the statement.

What results have you obtained?

The patient remains under observation by the investigators, but over time he may send text messages, emails, shop online, and access telehealth services. He will be able to live more independently, despite the paralysis he suffers.

What other advances has the North American company had?

The Synchron company is developing a neuroprosthesis for the treatment of paralysis and the first endovascular implantable neuromodulation therapy, following the same route of implantation of the Stentrode chip.

Who owns Synchron?

The doctor Tom Oxley, neurologist and neurointerventionist born in Canberra, Australia. Oxley graduated in Medical Sciences, Medicine and Surgery from Monash University (Australia), with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Melbourne and research experience in endovascular neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Synchron’s headquarters are in the United States, while it has a branch in Australia.

Bonus: What has Neuralink, Elon Musk’s company, achieved so far?

Neuralink, a company founded by Elon Musk in 2016, continues to work on a device capable of treating patients suffering from disabilities caused by neurological disorders, using direct brain stimulation. It recently showed advances in chip implantation in monkeys.

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