Discussion about alternatives to the woefully outdated devices that brain researchers have been stuck with for decades has given rise to a new electrode array that is not only more powerful than its predecessors, but also much less invasive. Armed with a recently raised $41 million, Precision Neuroscience is set to bring its new brain implant to a crowded but somewhat stagnant market.
Electrode arrays have heretofore been crucial in research settings, but the potential information density is simply too low to handle the higher functions that are desired from a brain-computer interface, such as moving a cursor on a screen or controlling a prosthetic limb. The gap cannot be filled by adding more electrodes, either, as they actually pierce brain tissue, and the resulting damage cannot be scaled up. Moving from an array of 100 to one consisting of 1,000 electrodes, although possibly allowing for added functionalities, is too dangerous. Precision Neuroscience’s solution conversely doesn’t even need to pierce the brain, and yet can amass brain data on a scale that would take quite a few more than 1,000 electrodes to replicate.
Precision Co-Founder and neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Rapoport brought this device to fruition after toiling over it for decades. “This has been his life’s work,” said the Chief Executive Officer of Precision, Michael Mager. “His view has always been that even for basic functionality you need high electrode density, and the tech has to be deployable in a minimally invasive way, with no damage to the brain. Our hope is to scale to tens of thousands of electrodes — and you can’t just keep penetrating more and more tissue.”