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  • - So we're gonna start the experiment, okay.

  • - [Narrator] That experiment you're seeing now

  • is something only a handful of people have experienced.

  • Having a microchip read your mind from inside your head.

  • It's part of a growing industry that includes,

  • Elon Musk's, Neuralink, which says it just implanted

  • its first chip into a human brain,

  • but other devices have already proven to telepathically

  • control computers and wirelessly operate prosthetics.

  • - It's a fundamentally different class

  • of medical device than anything we've ever seen before.

  • - [Narrator] Here's an inside look at how two

  • of the implants challenging Neuralink work

  • and what it will take to get them to consumers.

  • - Elon musk is the kind of person

  • who has very, very expansive visions of the future.

  • His idea is we're actually gonna augment

  • perfectly healthy humans with this chip

  • so that we can go along for the ride with AI as it advances.

  • - It's gonna be important for us to figure out

  • how we coexist with advanced artificial intelligence.

  • - [Narrator] While Elon Musk's end goal for Neuralink

  • is wider reaching, it's starting with addressing

  • a specific medical condition,

  • which other leading implantable BCIS

  • or brain computer interfaces are also aiming to treat.

  • - The technology is for people

  • who can no longer use their smartphones.

  • It's people whose hands don't work.

  • So it's things like stroke. ALS, muscular dystrophy,

  • multiple sclerosis, severe arthritis, cerebral palsy.

  • - [Narrator] These implants right now don't cure

  • these issues, but they could allow someone

  • who has lost use of their hands to say,

  • move a computer mouse.

  • Just by thinking.

  • - Our patients describe feeling a little bit

  • like they're locked in their own body,

  • their brain still working and they want to do things,

  • but you depend on other people to engage.

  • So it sort of gets to like a restoration of agency autonomy.

  • - Tom Oxley is a CEO of Synchron,

  • one of the five leading BCIs that are competing

  • in the industry.

  • While they vary in several ways,

  • there's one major difference that sets them apart.

  • Invasiveness, or how deeply implanted they are in the brain.

  • - Where neurotechnology has been developing

  • is to try to make devices that are less invasive,

  • but also devices that work better,

  • devices that can get more information in and out.

  • Devices that can target specific regions of the brain

  • - Neuralink device and others like it have to be implanted

  • directly into or onto the brain in order

  • to gather more data.

  • Synchron, on the other hand, is a stent that is implanted

  • into a blood vessel in the surface of the brain.

  • It's less risky than brain surgery,

  • but the placement can affect what information

  • the implant gets from the brain.

  • - There's a whole bunch of different ideas

  • for what's gonna give you the best brain signal readings

  • and from that data, can we do more?

  • But then there's a trade off with invasiveness,

  • and so you have all these companies doing

  • slightly different things, hoping to come up

  • with sort of the the best recipe.

  • - [Narrator] Here's how Synchrons device works.

  • - So I have a stent road here,

  • which is the electrode array that goes into the brain,

  • so I'll just bring it out of the catheter.

  • So you can see it opened up outside of the catheter here,

  • so we should see it coming up in a minute.

  • If you look down here,

  • you'll see something coming up inside the brain now.

  • - That stent road, as Synchro calls,

  • their device is a number of electrodes that pick up

  • electrical signals that correspond with specific thoughts.

  • Those signals run down into this chip,

  • which is implanted in the chest.

  • It wirelessly sends the signals to a computer

  • that transforms them into a digital command,

  • like a mouse click.

  • - So where your brain previously made your hand move,

  • like mine is doing right now,

  • it now is pushing a cursor to do navigate

  • and click on a screen.

  • - [Narrator] Synchro has successfully put permanent implants

  • in 10 patients so far as part of its clinical trials.

  • - You can, sometimes you can feel it.

  • Same as a pacemaker.

  • - [Narrator] Precision, whose implant you saw

  • in the surgery earlier is testing a temporary version

  • of its device.

  • The company is using volunteers who are already scheduled

  • for other brain operations to implant

  • its electrode array to collect data

  • and then remove it at the end of the surgery.

  • Right now, the device is recording brain activity

  • as the patient goes through the motions

  • of rock paper, scissors.

  • - Patients in this study are wearing a glove

  • on each hand that allows us to track the movement

  • of the hand in real time with a very, very high sensitivity

  • so that we know exactly what each finger is doing

  • and where the fingers in the hand and the arm are in space,

  • and we can correlate that with the electrical activity

  • that is happening on the motor cortex just before and during

  • and after the execution of a movement.

  • - [Narrator] That data is projected onto this grid,

  • which is like a map of the brain.

  • These red areas are where more activity

  • is happening with each action.

  • This helps researchers understand

  • how the brain activates different movements,

  • and they can later use that data to help paralyzed patients

  • control a computer with their minds, for example.

  • - We can predict what's about to happen

  • even before the patient speaks or moves.

  • - In terms of invasiveness,

  • Precision's, electrode array is meant to slide in through

  • a slit in the skull to sit just on top of the brain.

  • In order to make it to market.

  • These devices will have to prove to the FDA

  • that they're both safe and worth the risk,

  • and then they'll still need to get buy-in

  • from other players throughout the industry.

  • - We have to think about the insurance providers.

  • We have to think about the hospitals.

  • We have to think about the physicians

  • who are prescribing the devices.

  • All of these people have to get together and agree

  • that this is the best path forward.

  • It's something that they want and they recognize

  • the benefit of it.

  • - [Narrator] That process could take years,

  • but some experts think that they could start

  • hitting the market sometime in the next decade.

  • While Musk's vision of putting chips into healthy brains

  • is likely much further away than that,

  • the uses for BCIS have the potential

  • to expand in that time too.

  • Motif Neurotech, for instance,

  • is working on minimally invasive BCI technology

  • that could help treat mental health

  • disorders like depression.

  • - Where I see the future is a company

  • maybe Neuralink or Parapalegic that focus on high bandwidth.

  • There's gonna be companies like Synchron

  • and Motif that focus on minimal invasiveness.

  • Naturally, those customers

  • are gonna start to look different.

  • At that point, I think there's gonna be more competition

  • between these companies as they start to establish

  • who is the number one person in Neurotech.

  • But right now, I think there's room for all of us

  • to try to find a space. (soft music)

- So we're gonna start the experiment, okay.

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Neuralink's Rival Tests Brain Chip in Race to Bring Implants to Market | WSJ

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    VoiceTube staff 發佈於 2024 年 03 月 22 日
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