Home Synchron opens human brain chip trial, challenging Elon Musk’s Neuralink in brain technology

Synchron opens human brain chip trial, challenging Elon Musk’s Neuralink in brain technology


  • Synchron Inc. launches online registry for brain implant trial participants.
  • The trial aims to enroll dozens of participants with over 120 clinical trial centers interested.
  • Synchron, backed by Bezos and Gates, competes with Musk's Neuralink in BCI devices.

Synchron Inc., a rival of Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain implant startup, has announced the launch of an online registry for patients interested in joining its trial.

According to Reuters, the trial could include dozens of participants, with around 120 clinical trial centers already expressing an interest in helping to conduct the study.

“We are thrilled to launch our community-centered BCI (brain-computer interface) registry,” said Tom Oxley, CEO and founder, Synchron. “There is a grass roots movement happening with BCI. We are creating an avenue for potential users and their physicians to engage and stay connected while we prepare for the next stage of clinical trials.”

Based in New York, Synchron has reportedly made more progress in testing its brain implant technology than Neuralink. Both firms are focused on enabling paralyzed patients to type on computers by using devices that decode brain signals.

Synchron was granted authorization by the U.S. for preliminary testing in July 2021 and has since implanted its device in six patients. The company reports that earlier trials involving four patients in Australia revealed no serious adverse side effects.

The neurotechnology company is in the process of analyzing U.S. data to gear up for a more extensive study and is currently waiting for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to move forward, Oxley said.

In January, Musk reached a major milestone by successfully implanting its first human patient with a wireless brain-computer interface chip. The embedded device has reportedly already detected “promising neuron spikes” from the patient. It was then said the patient managed to move a computer mouse “by just thinking”, and then played an online chess game.

Who owns Synchron?

Synchron, backed by billionaire investors Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, competes with Neuralink in the specialized field of brain-computer interface (BCI) devices. These devices, which either penetrate the brain or rest on its surface, provide direct communication with computers through electrodes. To date, no company has secured final FDA approval to sell a BCI brain implant.

The device is placed inside a blood vessel on the brain’s surface through a simple procedure using the jugular vein. Once in place, it senses the brain’s movement signals and sends them wirelessly, aiming to let severely paralyzed patients control devices like computers without using their hands, just by thinking.

Featured image: Canva

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Suswati Basu
Tech journalist

Suswati Basu is a multilingual, award-winning editor and the founder of the intersectional literature channel, How To Be Books. She was shortlisted for the Guardian Mary Stott Prize and longlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award. With 18 years of experience in the media industry, Suswati has held significant roles such as head of audience and deputy editor for NationalWorld news, digital editor for Channel 4 News and ITV News. She has also contributed to the Guardian and received training at the BBC As an audience, trends, and SEO specialist, she has participated in panel events alongside Google. Her…

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