The scene has been hot for brain-computer interfacing (BCI) since Elon Musk announced its Neuralink project. One of Neuralink’s competitors is Austin-based Paradromics Inc., founded in 2015, about a year ahead of Neuralink. Bloomberg reported that Parandromics recently raised $20M to continue developing its high data rate implantable BCI.
Parandromics announced back in January 2020 that it had developed an implantable, low-power, high data rate neural sensor to enable massively parallel neural recordings for next-generation therapeutic applications. From the press release:
“Paradromics, together with partner Caeleste, have developed a novel mixed-signal sensor technology that enables high data rate neural recordings with 60 times lower power consumption than conventional digital readouts. The compact, low-power sensors interface with recording electrodes, reduce in-body thermal dissipation, and can be tiled to support active microelectrode arrays at densities up to 10,000 channels per sq cm. This development represents an important milestone in the development of high data rate brain computer interfaces (BCIs), allowing implants to transmit more neural data without overheating the brain. This will enable a broad range of novel and advanced applications in neural prosthetics.
Paradromics is bringing to market a next-generation fully implantable brain-computer interface that has up to two orders of magnitude higher effective neural data rate than state-of-the-art technologies. High data rate BCIs have the potential to restore speech and mobility for paralyzed patients, recover sensory capabilities, and create bioelectric therapies for patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
Thus far, the development of high data-rate BCIs has been limited by the outsized power requirements and related heat dissipation that comes with scaling existing BCI electronics to large neural channel counts. Data Scientists and Electrical Engineers at Paradromics and Caeleste have resolved this problem by designing an on-chip data processor that can perform real-time extraction of key information from massively parallel neural recordings with 60X lower power dissipation than conventional approaches.”
Parandromics has also developed a laser-based surgical tool to remove minute amounts of fibrous, non-brain material (pia mater) from the surface of the brain, allowing for microelectrode arrays to be inserted into the cortex with less force, thus reducing deformation of underlying tissue during placement of the microelectrodes.
Parandromics website: www.paradromics.com