Precision Neuroscience co-founders Michael Mager from New York and Craig Mermel from California explain how the novel innovation works.
A new technological development could give people the ability to access their devices using only their minds.
Precision Neuroscience is introducing its breakthrough in medical science as a benefit to those suffering from paralysis or other forms of limited mobility.
Precision CEO and co-founder Michael Mager shared how Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology turns thought into action in an interview with Fox News Digital.
L’OREAL UNVEILS THE WORLD’S FIRST HAND MAKEUP APPLICATOR FOR PEOPLE WITH LIMITED HAND AND ARM MOBILITY
“It’s a direct line of communication between the brain’s electrical activity and an external device, most often a computer, but it can also be like a prosthetic,” he said.
BCIs have proven workable for more than 15 years, but have only been implanted in about 40 people so far – which New York City resident Mager called a “real shame”.
Precision Neuroscience’s Stephanie Rider in the company’s lab. The company’s CEO, Michael Mager, said he believes Precision’s technology could ultimately help “millions of people.” (Precision Neuroscience/Fox News)
“Our basic goal is to change that,” he said. “To bring this technology, which has been proven to work, to hundreds of thousands and eventually millions of people who could benefit tremendously.”
These developments were reportedly a lifelong endeavor for Precision’s Chief Science Officer, Ben Rapoport, who has over two decades of experience developing BCIs, including while serving as a founding member of Neuralink.
NEW SEWING TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS CUSTOM PATTERNS ON MATERIAL: “GAME CHANGER” FOR CLOTHING AT HOME
The neurosurgeon and electrical engineer was a “pioneer” in the industry, Mager said, when he designed key features for Precision’s BCI.
BCI’s Mager said, according to Rapoport’s expertise, “It should have a very high bandwidth. It should have a lot of electrodes so that, you know, it can drive really useful functions.” Other features of the technology include minimally invasive use and reversibility and minimal damage.
Precision’s device is a super-thin film — one-fifth the width of a strand of human hair — that has a consistency similar to a piece of duct tape. FOX BU
The array contains 1,000 tiny electrodes – which, when placed, sit on the surface of the brain.
Array size reference compared to an adult thumb. (Precision Neuroscience/Fox News)
“And it’s able to record the electrical signals coming from the brain,” Mager said.
Craig Mermel, President and Chief Product Officer of Precision Neuroscience, explained the potential of the new technology in the same interview with Fox News Digital.
The Bay Area-based executive said what’s “most immediately accessible” in the near future is helping patients with paralysis caused by various conditions, including stroke, ALS, and others.
SCHOOL DISTRICT BLOCKS CHATGPT FOR FEAR OF FRAUD, PROTECT EDUCATORS ON AI
“The goal of the brain-computer interface is to place it over the regions of the brain that encode motor activity in the brain to record that activity — and then use software and machine learning to translate it into a signal.” that can be used to control a device,” he said.
“In this way, [it] restores patients’ ability to communicate, work, and potentially control their environment.”
Precision Neuroscience’s Stephanie Rider inspects the company’s microelectrode array. (Precision Neuroscience/Fox News)
Mermel called the system “profound” because millions of Americans suffer from conditions that cause immobility — and there are currently no other therapeutics offered by US healthcare systems or companies, he said.
As the technology taps into an “unmet need” in medicine, Mermel said the device’s functionality will be phased in.
“First of all, the application has the ability to restore your ability to communicate with your computer, your mobile device,” he said.
BIRD BUDDY SMART FEEDER USES AI TO IDENTIFY OVER 1,000 FEATHERED FRIENDS IN YOUR BACKYARD
“And then that has a number of downstream uses — your ability to email, send messages, navigate the web.”
Non-invasive micro-incision procedure
While Precision’s capabilities have the potential to branch out further, preparing for implantation of the device involves a calculated effort to ensure there is minimal damage to brain tissue.
The novel technique is called “microslit insertion,” Mermel said.
“When the patient is done with the surgery, no hair has been removed and there is essentially no evidence that major surgery was performed.”
Unlike a craniotomy, which removes large portions of the skull, this is a small incision, less than a millimeter thick, at the top of the head.
Electrobeams are then non-invasively inserted into the slit and placed on the brain surface.
Mockup of the array from Precision Neuroscience, the layer 7 cortical interface. (Precision Neuroscience/Fox News)
The procedure is still in development – but it’s expected to take less than an hour.
“When the patient is done with the surgery, no hair has been removed and there is essentially no evidence that major surgery was performed,” he said.
362,758 “FULLY SELF-PROPELLED” TESLAS RECALLED FOR SOFTWARE SECURITY UPDATE
“We’re very proud of that and think it’s going to be extremely important in the future,” he added.
Both the Cortical Surface Array technology and the non-invasive procedure developed by Rapoport are patented and unique to Precision Neuroscience.
“Rapid evolution” towards a “regulated device”
Precision raised $12 million in capital in April 2021 to formally launch the company.
“We like to say the job was done quickly, but the team has hundreds of years of combined experience that has enabled us to do this,” Mermel said.
“We are rapidly moving towards a regulated device.”
Precision Neuroscience’s Morgan LaMarca and Adam Poole examine the company’s implant under a microscope. (Precision Neuroscience/Fox News)
According to Mager, Precision hopes to submit its first application for a 30-day implant to the FDA this year.
The implant, which remains in the body indefinitely, has a longer regulatory perspective.
Mager then predicted measures within the next four to five years.
While no price tag currently applies, Mager emphasized that the device and procedure “must be covered by insurance.”
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT FOX BUSINESS
“The amount of benefit [patients] from using one of these implants – we think we have a strong case,” he said.
As modern technology continues to advance rapidly, Precision expects the public to feel a mix of “excitement and caution” about this development as well, Mager said.
Array by Precision Neuroscience. “We are focusing on a specific group of patients for whom this technology has the potential to be transformative.” (Precision Neuroscience/Fox News)
“We are focusing on a specific group of patients for whom this technology has the potential to be transformative,” he said. “So, I don’t think there’s that much confusion about whether what we’re trying to achieve is good or bad.”
People are “really desperate for things that have the potential to meaningfully improve their lives.”
He added: “I think when you talk to the people for whom this technology has the potential to really make a big difference, they’re incredibly excited and really desperate for things that have the potential to meaningfully improve their lives .”
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER
Mager and Mermel agreed that the potential for clinical benefit extends beyond those suffering from paralysis, but the overall focus of efforts will always be on medical applications, they said.
Mermel, who was Rapoport’s classmate at Harvard Medical School, credited the Precision project’s success to her “amazing team” and members, who have worked for tech giants like Apple, Google, and Neuralink.
GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE
“It brings together all the talent and different perspectives to make progress,” he said.