After the oral command with Siri and the control by the gaze, here is that the world is about to test the iPad directed by the thought. No need to touch it or speak, it will only take a few electrical impulses emanating directly from your brain to achieve this. This is the feat of which the science of Synchron, a New York startup that has already raised fifty million dollars with private investors since its market debut in 2016.
The company’s bet? Unlock the “natural highways of the brain“, thanks to a system approved by nothing less than the FDA (American institution responsible for validating the release of medical devices). Here, it’s an implant that is responsible for capturing the waves emitted by your reflection, then transcribing them on the screen -in short-. We explain to you.
Short format, for now
So of course, the implant cannot yet guess exactly and immediately what you have in mind. But if you receive a message, you can interact with it. For the moment, this is mainly about open questions, which can be answered in one word. Example :
“- How are you ?
The question, asked by a third party, is received on the iPad of a patient with Charcot’s disease, himself connected to the Synchron chip. To control the keyboard, it does not have to think about each letter or a particular word. No, he actually has to want to tap his foot. His condition preventing him from doing so, the signal is still emitted by the brain and is automatically converted by the implant into a command for the tablet. Nothing’s easier. The result is striking. In terms of speed, we still remain on a strategy of the order of that of the work The Diving Bell and the Butterflybut the evidence is in.
Persist, at all costs?
Although the initiative is commendable, it nevertheless echoes recent end-of-life debates which can move the French hemicycle. Should investment in solutions to perpetuate crippling states continue, or should we focus on genetics? The subject remains open.