After Synchron was given the go-ahead by the American Food and Drug Administration last year, the first patient from the United States was treated at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York in July 2022. This is synchron switch, the brain computer interface.
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The New York-based Synchron is being backed by billionaires Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos as a rival to Elon Musk’s Neuralink.
Tom Oxley and Nick Opie, two Australian professors who founded the business, announced on December 16 that their $110 million Series C fundraising round, which also included Bezos Expeditions, Gates Frontier, and ARCH Venture Partners, had been completed.
The jugular vein is used to implant the Synchron Switch, a “brain-computer interface,” in the blood vessels that surround the motor cortex of the brain.
Once configured, the interface will be able to wirelessly detect and send information from the brain, enabling people with severe paralysis to operate personal devices without the use of their hands.
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The money will go toward a crucial clinical test.
“We have an opportunity to deliver a first-in-class commercial [brain-computer interface],” said Oxley, also the CEO of Synchron, in a statement.
“The problem of paralysis is much larger than people realize. 100 million people worldwide have upper limb impairment,” he added.
Robert Nelson, the managing director of ARCH, claimed Synchron was assisting people with incurable diseases “regain connection to the world.”
How Does it Compare to Musk’s Neuralink?
Opie stated that the technique was minimally invasive, which he feels distinguishes it from Musk’s Neuralink, and clinical studies are presently being conducted in the United States and Australia.
“We don’t need to remove the scalp and skull or put electrodes directly into delicate brain tissue,” he said in comments obtained by AAP.
“We’ve come up with a clever way of getting to the right place in the brain just by using the body’s naturally occurring highways and blood vessels.”
This, he continued, ensured that patients recovered from the treatment more quickly.
Since having the treatment at Royal Melbourne Hospital in 2020, four Australians with paralysis have so far gotten implants.
“All of those patients were able to control a computer with their mind,” he said. “And there were no serious device-related effects.”
After Synchron was given the go-ahead by the American Food and Drug Administration last year, the first patient from the United States was treated at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York in July 2022.
Musk’s Neuralink, in comparison, has not yet been approved by the organization and is also under investigation for possible animal welfare infractions.
Although Musk reportedly approached Synchron about a potential investment, the billionaire also reportedly wanted to begin human testing in six months.
No deal is on the table, according to Opie.
Along with current backers Khosla Ventures, NeuroTechnology Investors, METIS, Forepont Capital Partners, ID8 Investments, and Shanda Group, additional investors include Reliance Digital Health, Greenoaks, Alumni Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures, and Project X.
Elon Musk Faces Federal Probe Over Neuralink Monkey Tests
The overall number of animals killed does not necessarily mean that Neuralink is doing its study in violation of laws or best practices. Nevertheless, Elon Musk faces a federal probe over the Neuralink monkey tests.