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Synchron launches human brain chip trial to challenge Elon Musk’s brain technology Neuralink

Synchron Inc., a rival to Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain implant startup, announced the launch of an online registry for patients interested in joining its trials.

The trial could include dozens of participants, and about 120 clinical trial centers have expressed interest in helping conduct the study, Reuters reported.

“We are excited to launch our community-focused BCI (brain-computer interface) registry,” said Tom Oxley, CEO and founder of Synchron. “BCI is a grassroots movement. We are creating one for potential users and their physicians. Pathways to get involved and stay connected as we prepare for the next phase of clinical trials.”

New York-based Synchron has reportedly made more progress than Neuralink in testing its brain implant technology. Both companies are working to enable paralyzed patients to type on computers by using devices that decode brain signals.

Synchron received U.S. authorization for initial testing in July 2021 and has since implanted its device in six patients. The company reported that an early four-patient trial in Australia found no serious adverse side effects.

Oxley said the neurotech company is analyzing U.S. data in preparation for a broader study and is awaiting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to proceed.

In January, Musk achieved a major milestone by successfully implanting a wireless brain-computer interface chip into the first human patient. The embedded device has reportedly detected “promising neuronal spikes” in patients. The patient was said to be able to move a computer mouse “just by thinking” and then played an online chess game.

Who owns sync?

Synchron, backed by billionaire investors Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, competes with Neuralink in the brain-computer interface (BCI) device specialty. These devices either penetrate the brain or remain on the surface of the brain, providing direct communication with the computer through electrodes. To date, no company has received final approval from the FDA to market BCI brain implants.

Through a simple procedure using the jugular vein, the device is placed within a blood vessel on the surface of the brain. Once in place, it senses the brain’s movement signals and sends them wirelessly, aiming to allow severely paralyzed patients to control devices such as computers without using their hands, using just their thoughts.

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