New BCI Receives Breakthrough Design Designation to Help Paralysis Patients

Blackrock Neurotech announced recently that its MoveAgain brain-computer interface (BCI) received Breakthrough Design designation from the FDA. The  developer designed MoveAgain to give users the ability to control a mobile device, mouse cursor, keyboard wheelchair, or a prosthetic with their thoughts. Blackrock hopes to achieve commercialization by this year to further help individuals with disabilities.

Blackrocks’ president and chairman, Florian Solzbacher, expounds upon how proprietary MoveAgain’s technology is in the realm of effective BCIs. Solzbacher states that implantable BCI’s continually outperform non-implantable devices in its accuracy, speed, and effectiveness in preliminary data. Aside from Blackrock’s device, there is limited data on implantable solutions beyond MoveAgain. Solzbacher foresees further affirming and comparable data once other players enter the market with related devices.

MoveAgain’s original intended user was for those with severe paralysis or tetraplegia to help restore independence. Blackrock’s hope is to also move into less severe forms of paralysis and ultimately use the underlying implant platform to address a wide array of neurological disorders.

The first stage of MoveAgain is to facilitate fast and accessible commands such as controlling cursors, menus, wheelchair keyboards, and thought-to-text using brain control. The secondary stage will be harnessing the patient’s wheelchair or prosthetic interface with brain control as well.

The miniaturization and intrinsic scaling of computer electronics over the years gave the necessary foundation to MoveAgain’s portability. Additionally, Blackrock’s internal development of “novel custom mixed-signal computer chips” and “packaging and system integration approaches” also contributed to MoveAgain’s highly-impactful, yet portable interface.

In 2022, Blackrock’s primary trajectory is to offer first a commercial product and subsequently launch new functionalities and uses. The priority is to serve patients suffering from severe paralysis that have been waiting decades for a solution such as this one. Solzbacher stated that given the skyrocketing trajectory of his field, we may see these types of interfaces used as commonly as pacemakers or cochlear implants. From neurological, to psychological, or even patients that have suffered limb losses due to accidents or disease may find breakthrough solutions in the realm of BCI.

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