Blackrock Neurotech, a biotech firm headquartered in Salt Lake City, has implanted brain chips in 50 people to treat ailments. These chips enable individuals to control robotic limbs and wheelchairs, play video games, and even sense feelings.
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While Elon Musk and the people at Neuralink are trying to get FDA approval to test their Neuralink BCIs on people and get them approved for medical uses, a biotech in Utah seems to have beaten them to the goal, quite handsomely, and has already implanted brain chips in dozens of patients.
Blackrock Neurotech, headquartered in Salt Lake City, aspires to cure physical disability, blindness, deafness, and depression. The NeuroPort Array chip enables individuals to control robotic limbs and wheelchairs, play video games, and even sense feelings.
It works by using nearly 100 microneedles that attach to the brain and read electrical signals produced by someone’s thoughts. More than three dozen people have so far received it. The device was first implanted in a human in 2004. Company leaders hope to bring it to market soon, announcing in 2021 they aimed for the next year.
“We are the only business with direct-brain BCI implants in humans,” said Marcus Gerhardt, co-founder of Blackrock. “With simply their brain impulses, our implanted arrays have enabled patients to link directly to computers, control robotic limbs and wheelchairs, play video games, and even restore feeling.”
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Blackrock’s approach employs an implanted microchip with 96 arrays, which are little needle-shaped brain chips capable of reading and stimulating electrical impulses. It may be put anywhere on the surface of the brain. Multiple devices can be implanted in the brain of the same person.
The device monitors electrical impulses created by the wearer’s thoughts after implantation. These signals are decoded by machine learning software into digital commands such as cursor movements, which may be utilised to operate prostheses and computer equipment.
This can assist someone in drawing with a robotic arm, utilising computer programmes, or controlling a wheelchair or prosthetic limb. However, the company is now seeking FDA approval for devices designed for use outside of the lab, such as those used by people with paralysis at home.
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