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  • Writer's pictureSofia Ng

Breaking Communication Barriers

Tech moves faster and faster, 2023 had been a whirlwind, imagine typing on a virtual keyboard using only your thoughts. It's a concept that embodies both excitement for technological advancements and a hint of contemplation about its implications.

Enter Synchron, a trailblazing company backed by visionaries like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, leading the race in commercializing brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). At the forefront of their innovation is the groundbreaking "Stentrode" implant, setting itself apart by prioritizing medical conditions over augmentation.

The Stentrode takes a unique approach, avoiding invasive surgeries by being inserted into a blood vessel near the brain's motor cortex. This not only ensures safety but also offers longevity—a crucial factor in medical technology.

The transformative power of the Stentrode is evident in Rodney Gorham's story. Battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Gorham communicates effortlessly, typing out messages by focusing on subtle muscle movements. These movements are decoded by the implant and translated into touchscreen actions. Clinical trials, including the SWITCH and COMMAND projects, showcase how this technology empowers individuals with paralysis, enabling them to send texts, control devices, and regain digital independence.

While competitors like Elon Musk's Neuralink join the BCI race, Synchron's distinctive focus on addressing medical conditions stands out. According to Tom Oxley, CEO and founder of Synchron, the goal is not merely to augment the human body but to address specific medical needs.

Synchron's commitment to non-invasive procedures is noteworthy. The Stentrode is inserted through the jugular vein, providing access to a blood vessel near the brain's motor cortex. This approach minimizes the risk of complications, ensuring the implant's longevity and stability.

Despite the challenge of interpreting brain signals from inside blood vessels, Synchron's engineers have developed advanced algorithms to overcome this limitation. As the company prepares for a third clinical trial, the potential for this innovation to reach a broader audience becomes increasingly promising.

If successful, the Stentrode could transform the lives of millions, ushering in a new era of brain-computer interfaces. Synchron's vision goes beyond a technological race—it aims to enhance lives through innovative solutions. As we eagerly await the results of the upcoming trial, the prospect of a commercially available Stentrode offers hope for a more inclusive and connected future.

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