1. Business
  2. Medical marvels
April 8, 2019updated 09 Apr 2019 9:30am

This company is trialling thought-to-text brain computer interface technology

By Luke Christou

Clinical trials are now underway on a thought-to-text technology that could provide those suffering with paralysis with a new lease of life.

Medtech company Synchron has developed the Stentrode, a minimally-invasive neural interface technology, which can detect and interpret brain signals in patients suffering with paralysis.

The device is implanted into the jugular vein and makes its way to the patient’s motor cortex, the part of the brain that executes movement. Signals from the motor cortex are captured and transmitted into a wireless antenna which sits in the patient’s chest.

To make use of these signals, Synchron is developing a suite of assistive technologies tools known as BrainOS. This training software, which uses artificial intelligence technology, can be interacted with using the transmitted brain signals. AI and machine learning algorithms are used to predict brain activity and produce the desired response on the BrainOS system.

Using technology to improving the situation of paralysis sufferers

Previous studies have shown Stenstrode to be effective at picking up particular signals from the brain. However, the clinical trial will test its effectiveness with patients that could rely on it as a future treatment. The clinical trial will test five patients currently suffering with paralysis due to conditions such as spinal injury, stroke, muscular dystrophy, or motor neuron disease.

It will be used to evaluate whether the safety of the Stentrode technology and whether it functions effectively with the BrainOS software.

“The initiation of this trial is a milestone for the technology industry and points towards a new form of treatment for people with paralysis,” said Thomas Oxley, CEO of Synchron. “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.”

The technology behind the Stentrode is similar to BrainGate, a brain implant system built by Cyberkinetics which has been undergoing clinical trials since 2009. The technology allows patients to control a range of devices using thought, including robotic arms and, more recently, tablet devices.

However, according to Synchron, this is the first technology of its kind that doesn’t require the patient to undergo open brain surgery, which the company hopes will help to lower rejection rates. The implant is small and flexible, which allows it is safely pass through blood vessels on its way to the brain.

Read more: Researchers train AI to learn as a child would


Verdict deals analysis methodology

This analysis considers only announced and completed artificial intelligence deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.

Topics in this article: ,