Brain-Computer Interface Market to Develop as Researchers Develop a Technology that can help Disabled Individuals to Communicate through their Mind
Posted On January 20, 2022
Philip O'Keefe, a 62-year-old Australian with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is the first person to use only his thoughts to post a message on social media. He tweeted a brief message titled "Hello World" on December 23.
Synchron, a brain-computer interface firm, invented the technology that allowed O'Keefe to transmit his message. The device used is the SBCI (Stentrode Brain-Computer Interface), a sort of endovascular brain implant. The advancement of this technology could significantly impact the Brain-Computer Interface Market, as it could serve as the foundation for new applications that rely solely on mental control.
The 8 mm brain implant was created to allow people incapable of speaking to communicate with their thoughts. It was placed into O'Keefe's brain without having to breach his skull. Instead, it was inserted through his jugular vein.
O'Keefe, like other ALS patients, experienced growing paralysis in early 2021, rendering him unable to talk. The SBCI implantation occurred in April. Soon after, he began talking with it—he can now compose messages by imagining words or actions (such as mouse clicks) that are translated to activity on a computer screen. His historical, social media remark was tweeted from Synchron CEO Thomas Oxley's account.
His initial message was followed by a longer statement in which he explained how he had come to accept the new technology. He also expressed the hope that his participation in the SBCI program will pave the way for new types of technology that will allow people who have lost their ability to talk or move to reclaim their independence.
The SBCI is a wireless device that reads brainwaves and converts them to words. The motor neuroprosthesis was implanted into O'Keefe's brain using techniques that have been used to treat stroke patients for several years.
Human clinical trials have been ongoing in Australia for more than a year. The device has only been implanted in one other person so far, but more are anticipated.
Synchron officials have previously stated that the SBCI will be expanded. It will develop devices that can be used to diagnose and possibly treat ailments like Parkinson's disease, hypertension, epilepsy, and even depression.