Mind-Controlled Computing Tested On Humans

The Synchron Switch is a device that’s inserted via blood vessels to enable individuals with little to no physical movement to control technology, such as computer cursors and smart home devices, using their thoughts. The technology is still in the early stages, with three patients in the U.S. and four in Australia having undergone the procedure so far.

Synchron, a brain interface startup, is developing technology that aims to revolutionize the lives of individuals with paralysis. The employees at Synchron are working on a solution that can aid patients with severe paralysis or degenerative illnesses, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), by allowing them to regain the ability to communicate with their loved ones and the wider world. This technology could enable them to type, text, or even access social media, depending on their needs.

Synchron’s BCI enables patients to perform various tasks, such as shopping online and managing their health and financial matters. However, according to Oxley, patients tend to get the most excited about the ability to text message.

In December 2021, Oxley gave his Twitter account to Philip O’Keefe, a patient suffering from ALS who finds it difficult to move his hands. O’Keefe had received Synchron’s BCI implant around 20 months prior to the handover.

“hello, world! Short tweet. Monumental progress,” O’Keefe tweeted on Oxley’s page, using the BCI. 

Maybe we’re overthinking it. Perhaps mind control isn’t the worst thing to happen to mankind. AI these days feel a lot scarier than that.


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