First commercial brain computer interface is entering human trials

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Brain\u002Dcomputer interfaces, like Synchron\u0027s Stentrode device, could empower millions of disabled people to more easily communicate and engage in modern life

Synchron’s device, once implanted, travels to the brain through blood vessels. After it reaches the brain, the Stentrode translates brain activity into signals designed to allow texting, emailing, online shopping or other activities using an external device, Synchron said.

In the past, other BCIs have received regulatory approval to treat patients on a temporary basis. Synchron’s trial, if successful, would secure approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for long-term use, not just for experiments like those in a lab. The Synchron study will eventually involve six U.S. patients, split between New York and Pittsburgh. The first patient enrolled this week at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. Tom Oxley, Synchron’s founder and chief executive officer, declined to identify the patient or provide demographic details.

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.


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