Blackrock Neurotech, a provider of brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, and Phantom Neuro, a recently launched neurotech startup that delivers a high accuracy system for lifelike control of robotic orthopedic technologies, announce an alliance. Blackrock will become a partner in research and development for Phantom Neuro’s patent-pending Phantom X system, which offers patients highly accurate, nearly real-time control of current and next-generation assistive devices, including prosthetics and exoskeletons.
Blackrock’s engagement, coupled with its contribution to Phantom Neuro’s recent financing announcement, will help accelerate Phantom X’s research and development path to clinical trials.
“The gap between technological advancements in robotics and the reality for patients–a significant portion of whom choose not to use a prosthesis at all–inspired this work,” said Dr. Connor Glass, Founder and CEO of Phantom Neuro and primary inventor of Phantom’s technology. “Our technology will offer patients control of advanced prosthetics and exoskeletons in much the same way they control an intact limb. This can restore their quality of life to a degree that is currently not possible with existing solutions.”
The Phantom X system enables intuitive prosthetic control via small, low risk, flexible sensors that are implanted under the skin within an amputation stump or injured limb. These sensors detect muscle signals as the muscles contract, based on an individual’s intended movements. The electrical activity is sent wirelessly out of the body and decoded into those intended movements that are then enacted within a robotic mechanism, creating near-lifelike control of the assistive device, whether that is a prosthetic recreating a missing limb or an exoskeleton helping a person walk.
Beyond Blackrock’s participation in Phantom Neuro’s recent round of funding, this R&D partnership enables Phantom to leverage Blackrock’s decades of experience in neurotechnology and the development of biocompatible implantable sensors to complement and bolster the Phantom X platform.
“Over two years ago, while studying at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, I met the Blackrock Neurotech team and was made aware of the extraordinary advances they have generated within the neurotechnology field. Today Phantom Neuro is thrilled to announce our partnership with these leaders in BCI technology,” said Dr. Glass.
“The nature of our two approaches, Blackrock with the brain and Phantom with the neuromuscular system, covers the whole spectrum of individuals with function-limiting neurological and orthopedic injuries,” said Florian Solzbacher, co-founder and Chairman of Blackrock Neurotech. “Together we offer a unique and safe advantage in restoring function across the entire body based on an individual’s specific needs.”
In addition to a shared focus on function restoration, the two companies are both committed to ensuring clinical translation of technological advancements and to expediting delivery of a commercial product for patients.
“With Blackrock as both an investor in our venture and also a business partner in operations and development, we are ensuring an elevated product with a more efficient development timeline, ultimately meaning quicker and better results for patients,” said Dr. Glass.
“Our focus at Blackrock is to provide our neurotech platform to companies intent on advancing technology into effective patient care,” said Marcus Gerhardt, co-founder and CEO of Blackrock Neurotech. “Partnering with Dr. Glass and Phantom Neuro leverages our platform and reduces the time to market for their commercialization effort.”
While the Phantom X technology is still in pre-clinical stages, discussions with the Food and Drug Administration have begun. The company hopes to begin clinical trials within the next two to four years.
[Source(s): Blackrock Neurotech, PR Newswire]