This brain-computer startup beats Elon Musk’s Neuralink for implanting first device in a patient

Synchron

This month, Synchron, a company that specialises in brain-computer interfaces, appeared to exceed Elon Musk’s Neuralink after implanting its first device in a US patient. Recently, Synchron successfully implanted its first device into a patient, outperforming Neuralink by Elon Musk for the third time.

Synchron’s functioning

By enabling the patient to write emails and texts using only their thoughts, the technology aims to enable communication for them even after they have lost the ability to move. A 1.5-inch device was successfully implanted into the mind of an ALS patient at Mount Sinai West Hospital in New York by the firm.

The Australian startup was given approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year to begin human studies on six seriously injured Americans.

Neuralink has not yet received FDA approval, despite Musk’s claim that the company may begin conducting human trials as early as 2020. Most recently, in a statement made in 2021, he said that the company expected to start implanting its computer chip in individuals by 2022.

In 2021, Hodak founded his own hazily defined neurotech business, Science Corp, and hired a few high-ranking Neuralink personnel along with him. The co-founder and former president of Neuralink, Max Hodak, said that he had invested in Synchron after leaving Elon Musk’s company.

A steady migration of executives has included one of Neuralink’s co-founders leaving the ailing neurotech company. Paul Merolla, a cofounder of Neuralink, has left the company, making him the sixth of the company’s eight founders to do so in the past three years. 

The Synchron and Neuralink implants can be used immediately. Both of them can translate human spoken commands into computer commands, which could be useful for persons with neurological diseases like Parkinson’s or ALS.

To put it another way, the chip’s goal is to make it possible for those with severe paralysis to communicate by thought.

The device developed by an Australian startup may be inserted into a human skull without piercing it by using a catheter to feed it through the jugular vein and into a blood vessel in the brain. To complete the procedure, two distinct operations are required.

A portion of the patient’s skull would have to be removed in order to implant the far more powerful and small device from Neuralink, which would be carried out by a robot.

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