Apple has long been praised for providing users with leading-edge accessibility features on its platforms. In addition to Apple itself, which is doing great work in this field, there are other companies and researchers who are creating new innovative ways to use the iPhone and iPad. Now there are reports of a new implant that is currently undergoing clinical trials and allows users to use their brains and thoughts to control an iPhone or iPad.
According to 9to5Mac, New York-based company Synchron is working on brain implant technology that would allow patients to control their iPhone or iPad using their brains.
According to the report, Synchron is testing the technology, called the Synchron Switch, with six patients who have had it surgically implanted in their brains. Synchron is also the first company to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to “conduct clinical trials on a computerized brain implant.”
Tom Oxley, founder and CEO of Synchron, explained about the technology:
“A set of sensors made by Synchron called a ‘Stentrode’ is inserted into the brain through a blood vessel in a somewhat invasive way. Then it is controlled wirelessly from the patient’s chest using Synchron Switch.
Oxley also explained that the skills required to implant a Stentrode are commonplace, and that this level of simplicity is at the heart of the company’s technology.
iPad control with brain implant
One patient is currently using the Synchron Switch with an Apple device: Rodney Gorham, a retired software salesman in Melbourne, Australia, who had the device surgically implanted in his brain at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Gorham suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a debilitating motor neuron disease better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He only uses his iPad as a way to communicate with others, and Synchron Switch helps him by converting his thoughts into actions on the iPad screen. When the patient “thinks about tapping their foot, the iPad registers it as a finger tap on the screen,” the report explains.
The research conducted by Synchron is still in its early stages, but the company is far ahead of its competitors. Also, Apple itself is conducting research on a similar technology by a team from Carnegie Mellon University.