Blackrock Neurotech announces plans to commercialize a brain-computer interface (BCI) platform in 2022 that aims to restore communication function in patients impaired by disabilities caused by ALS, paralysis and other spinal cord injuries.
With this breakthrough technology, patients would be able to create text simply by imagining themselves typing or writing by hand.
The BCI platform consists of an implant, miniaturized electronics, software, and a decoder. As a patient is thinking, electrodes implanted in the brain read the electrical firing patterns of neurons and send those signals through a bundle of five patented machine learning software decoders. The decoder algorithms have the ability to recognize and translate symbols, virtual keyboard and handwriting movements from thought patterns into communicable text.
This technology could also enable patients to control a screen cursor, chair, vehicle, robotic arm or manipulator, and type speech or program shortcuts into a keyboard.
The decoders enable typing speeds of up to 90 characters per minute, with 94% thought-to-text live accuracy and up to 99% accuracy with post-processing auto-correction work. The immediate goals of this initiative are to demonstrate that patients experience increased independence, improved quality of life, and the ability to return to the workforce with their use of the platform, according to the company in a news release.
“This is the first step towards providing people with limited communication ability the opportunity to communicate more effectively. The Stanford studies have demonstrated remarkable restoration of communication function, up to ten times faster than other BCI communication decoding options. The eventual goal is to enable communication functions on par with that of an able-bodied person. The progress is truly incredible.”— Florian Solzbacher, Chairman and President of Blackrock Neurotech
Blackrock is committed to make the technology available to the broader neuroscience community for research, and provide as many patients as possible with access to and use of this BCI, per the release.
“We are thrilled that commercialization is now possible. Not only is there sufficient data to support the first applications, but more importantly, patients are asking for the product. We hope this device is just the first of many advancements in helping patients regain independence and overcome limitations posed by their disability.”— Marcus Gerhardt, CEO of Blackrock Neurotech
[Source(s): Blackrock Neurotech, PR Newswire]