Here’s How To Control iPhone, iPad With Your Brain
New York-based company Synchron is working on brain-computer interface (BCI) technology with the goal of enabling patients to control digital devices hands-free. It has created a device called the ‘Synchron Switch’ to turn the thoughts of people with disabilities into action. It allows patients to control an iPhone or iPad using their brain. With this technology, multiple sensors called Stentrodes are inserted into the brain via a blood vessel and are controlled wirelessly using a Synchron Switch from the patient’s chest. The company covers the cost of installing and maintaining the device. Synchron is the first company to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct clinical trials on computer brain implants.
According to a reports By Semafor, the Synchron Switch is used by six patients. Rodney Gorham, a retired software salesman in Australia, is the first to use it with an Apple product. Gorham suffers from ALS and underwent a brain transplant at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
As mentioned, the Stentrode is inserted into the brain through a blood vessel and is controlled wirelessly using a Synchron Switch from the patient’s chest. It is reported that synchron covers the cost of installing and maintaining the device. The company is training the Synchron Switch to detect a brain signal by touching a foot. The report says Gorham can control his iPad with his Syncron Switch and can send one-word messages.
Tom Oxley, co-founder and CEO of Synchron, said this will be the first brain-altering input to the device. Oxley said the skills required to insert the stentrode are standard, adding that inserting the device directly into the brain would require neurosurgery.
If the FDA approves the device for widespread use, Oxley believes technology like the Stentrode will benefit people with disabilities.
Synchron, founded in 2016, is a popular name in the field of brain-computer interface (BCI). According to Pitchbook data, it has around 60 employees and has raised around $65 million (roughly Rs. 538 crore) so far from investors. It received FDA approval for human trials in 2021 and has completed studies on four people in Australia. Many startups are working to embed devices in skulls, such as Syncron. Inner Cosmos, Epiminder, and Elon Musk’s Neuralink are key players in the space. Neuralink is yet to receive FDA approval for its implant.
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