To end the year on a high note, a 62-year-old paralyzed man entered the social media world before Christmas when a brain chip allowed him to send his first tweet.
Australian Philip O’Keefe had a brain implant inserted in April 2020 thanks top Synchron’s advances in this area.
Their BCI (brain-computer interface) studies led to the implant called Stentrode which was designed to be attached without the need of brain surgery. Instead, Synchron leveraged medical techniques used to treat stroke to move it through O’Keefe’s jugular vein.
The implant worked and since then the Australian was able to connect with family and colleagues through email.
His experience learning how to communicate via BCI was akin to learning to ride a bike, the man admitted. Something that took practice but in the end, felt pretty natural.
His recent achievement, after using the implant to access online banking and shopping services, was to send this tweet a couple of days before Christmas:
Synchron hopes their solution could help people with other neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease in the future. To make that happen, the company is looking forward to 2022, when they plan starting their first-in-human study in the U.S.