High fidelity brain-computer interfaces generally require the placement of an implant beneath the skull, a highly invasive and potentially dangerous procedure. A new device, developed at the University of Melbourne in Australia, combines the ease of delivery of a vascular stent with the capabilities of a neural array, and it is about to be tried in humans.

The Stentrode has already been successfully implanted into the superficial cortical vein of sheep, which is conveniently located next to the motor cortex. The researchers of the device were able to record the electrical activity of the motor cortex and it compared very nicely to the same brainwaves gathered using traditional epidural surface array electrodes.

The new study of the Stentrode, which is being further advanced by Synchron, a company spun off for this very task, will involve testing the safety of the device while using the company’s Thought-to-Text technology and the BrainOS software. BrainOS allows patients to control all kinds of assistive devices by simply thinking of them, and the combination of the technologies may give severely disabled people the ability to gain real independence.

“The initiation of this trial is a milestone for the technology industry and points towards a new form of treatment for people with paralysis. There is currently no means for recovery for patients beyond the natural healing process,” in a published statement said the study director and CEO of Synchron, Associate Professor Thomas Oxley, MD, PhD, and Neurointerventionalist, Department of Neurosurgery, Mount Sinai Hospital. “The coupling of the Stentrode with our BrainOS technology represents a potential solution to enable people to regain control of their world: but with digital means. For people who have lost the ability to communicate, this technology could be life changing.”

Flashbacks: Stentrode Minimally Invasive Brain-Machine Interface: Interview with Dr. Thomas Oxley, Neurologist at Royal Melbourne Hospital…; Stentrodes for Recording Electrical Activity Within the Brain…

Device info page: The Stentrode…

Via: Synchron…

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