Synchron, a New York-based company, has created a device called “Synchron Switch” that allows patients to control an iPhone or iPad using their brain. According to Semafor, an array of sensors known as a “Stentrode” is inserted into the top of the brain via a blood vessel. It is controlled wirelessly using the Synchron Switch from the patient’s chest.
Rodney Gorham, a retired software salesman in Melbourne, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a nervous system disease that severely impacts physical functioning. Synchron has six patients using the Synchron Switch device and Gorham is the first ever to use it with an Apple product, according to a report.
“We’re excited about iOS and Apple products because they’re so ubiquitous, and this would be the first brain switch input into the device,” Tom Oxley, Synchron’s co-founder and CEO was quoted as saying. With the Synchron Switch, Gorham’s thoughts are turned into action on the iPad.
The iPad registers Gorham’s foot tapping as a finger tap when he thinks about tapping his foot. Using his Synchron Switch, Gorham is able to send single-word text messages from his iPad, reports Semafor.
Synchron is also the first company to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct clinical trials for a computer-brain implant. The company which has raised $70 million in venture and other funding, foots the cost of implanting and maintaining the device, it added.