Bill Gates and Bezos Back a Neurolink Competitor

Synchron in a brain computer interface company funded with over $75 million with investors including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. Synchron is an implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) company. They published results in medical journal JAMA Neurology of long-term safety results from a clinical study in four patients with severe paralysis implanted with Synchron’s first-generation Stentrode™, a neuroprosthesis device. The study found that it is possible to use the neuroprosthesis device to transmit neural signals from inside a blood vessel in the brain over a long-term period without any serious adverse events related to the device.

The Stentrode With Thought-Controlled Digital Switch (SWITCH) study, a first-in-human study, evaluated four patients implanted with Synchron’s Stentrode™. Patients participating in the study completed a 12-month follow-up with no persistent neurological deficits. There were no clots or migration of the device. Signal quality remained stable with no evidence of significant deterioration. Each participant successfully controlled a personal computing device with the BCI. Participants were able to use the implant to generate digital switches under intentional control for routine digital activities, such as texting, emailing, personal finance, online shopping, and communication of care needs.

Synchron’s BCI is inserted through the blood vessels, which Oxley calls the “natural highways” into the brain. Synchron’s stent, called the Stentrode, is fitted with tiny sensors and is delivered to the large vein that sits next to the motor cortex. The Stentrode is connected to an antenna that sits under the skin in the chest and collects raw brain data that it sends out of the body to external devices.

Paralysis may result in a loss of control of muscles in the body, while the brain can remain intact. Motor intent is the brain signal underlying the physical will to move. A brain-computer interface is designed to restore the lost motor intent signal transmission associated with paralysis. The device is implanted in the motor cortex of the brain via the jugular vein in a minimally-invasive endovascular procedure. Once implanted, it detects and wirelessly transmits motor intent in order to control personal digital devices.

Motor intent was detected using a robust decoder that searches for power changes in certain frequency bands. The digital switches were executed under the volitional control of frequency band shifts by the users.

Synchron’s first-generation system was developed in partnership with Ripple LLC (Salt Lake City) and utilized Ripple’s neural sensing technology to provide core signal acquisition, data telemetry and signal processing capabilities.

Tom Oxley Has a TED Talk on Using Stentrode to Send Tweets From the Brain

Patients have been able to send tweets via the brain interface. Neurotech entrepreneur Tom Oxley describes the intricacies of this breakthrough technology, which is currently enrolling participants in human trials, as well as how it could help restore dignity to those with disabilities — and transform the future of communication.

4 thoughts on “Bill Gates and Bezos Back a Neurolink Competitor”

  1. This isn’t going to be like where Verizon and Optimum send me monthly deals to try to get me to switch from one to the other is it?

  2. Personally hoping for a great reset (stone age) before this gets much beyond cochlear implants or helping blind people see again. Then again, get off my lawn.

  3. Instead of adding electronics to the brain, some want to do it the other way around:

    “As the paper explains, organoid intelligence (OI) is an emerging field where researchers are developing biological computing using 3D cultures of human brain cells (brain organoids) and brain-machine interface technologies. These organoids share aspects of brain structure and function that play a key role in cognitive functions like learning and memory. They would essentially serve as biological hardware, and could one day be even more efficient than current computers running AI programs.”


  4. “Signal quality remained stable with no evidence of significant deterioration.”

    Nothing electromechanical lasts forever and humans live a long time. Removing and replacing something like that after you’ve come to rely on it for years is going to be a pain.

    I’m not completely against it but it sounds like it will have some serious issues.

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