Elon Musk's Neuralink rival Synchron has begun human trials of its brain implant that lets the wearer control a computer using thought alone. The firm's Stentrode brain implant, about the size of a paperclip, will be implanted in six patients in New York and Pittsburgh who have severe paralysis. Stentrode will let patients control digital devices just by thinking and give them back the ability to perform daily tasks, including texting, emailing and shopping online. Although the implant has already been implanted and tested in Australian patients, the new clinical trial marks the first time it will be tested in the US. If successful, the Stentrode brain implant could be sold as a commercial product aimed at paralysis patients to regain their independence and quality of life.
The billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's brain chip startup is preparing to launch clinical trials in humans. Musk, who co-founded Neuralink in 2016, has promised that the technology "will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs". The Silicon Valley company, which has already successfully implanted artificial intelligence microchips in the brains of a macaque monkey named Pager and a pig named Gertrude, is now recruiting for a "clinical trial director" to run tests of the technology in humans. "As the clinical trial director, you'll work closely with some of the most innovative doctors and top engineers, as well as working with Neuralink's first clinical trial participants," the advert for the role in Fremont, California, says. "You will lead and help build the team responsible for enabling Neuralink's clinical research activities and developing the regulatory interactions that come with a fast-paced and ever-evolving environment."
Elon Musk might be well positioned in space travel and electric vehicles, but the world's second-richest person is taking a backseat when it comes to a brain-computer interface (BCI). New York-based Synchron announced Wednesday that it has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to begin clinical trials of its Stentrode motor neuroprosthesis - a brain implant it is hoped could ultimately be used to cure paralysis. The FDA approved Synchron's Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) application, according to a release, paving the way for an early feasibility study of Stentrode to begin later this year at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. New York-based Synchron announced Wednesday that it has received FDA approval to begin clinical trials of Stentrode, its brain-computer interface, beating Elon Musk's Neuralink to a crucial benchmark. The study will analyze the safety and efficacy of the device, smaller than a matchstick, in six patients with severe paralysis. Meanwhile, Musk has been touting Neuralink, his brain-implant startup, for several years--most recently showing a video of a monkey with the chip playing Pong using only signals from its brain.