Science introduces new platform to speed up medical device innovation, challenging Neuralink

max hodak science

  • Science has launched Science Foundry, a new platform designed to help other companies access its internal infrastructure to facilitate the quick development and production of medical devices.
  • Science Foundry provides access to over 80 tools and services to aid other companies in the development of medical devices, making it easier and faster.
  • Science is part of the brain-computer interface industry, and its flagship BCI system, Science Eye, aims to restore visual input to patients with serious blindness, showcasing the company's commitment to innovation in the healthcare industry.

On Monday, Science, a biotechnology startup and competitor of Neuralink, announced the launch of a new platform with the aim of facilitating the quick development and production of medical devices by other companies.

Science Foundry platform enables companies to leverage Science's internal infrastructure by granting access to more than 80 tools and services, including Science's thin-film electrode technologies.

In an interview, Science Co-Founder and CEO Max Hodak stated that early-stage startups often find the cost of developing medical devices to be prohibitive. According to Max Hodak, individual tools can range from $200,000 to $2 million, and constructing a manufacturing line can easily cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Max Hodak believes that the cost of developing medical devices is often unaffordable for many startups, but he is optimistic that Science Foundry can help ease the burden. He hopes that by providing access to Science's internal infrastructure, the platform will help lower the barriers to innovation, enabling more smart people with diverse ideas to develop and create new medical devices.

Science is a player in the fast-growing brain-computer interface (BCI) industry, which involves developing systems that can interpret brain signals and use them to control external devices. One of the most prominent company in this field is Neuralink, which owes its fame to its founder Elon Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter.

In 2021, Hodak announced his departure as the president of Neuralink, a company he co-founded. While at brain implant companies like Neuralink, Hodak was involved in developing a brain-computer interface (BCI) system that was intended to be implanted directly into the brain. However, at Science, he is currently working on a different type of implant that does not require direct contact with the brain.

The Science Eye is Science's primary brain-computer interface (BCI) system, which is a visual prosthesis intended to assist patients with two types of severe blindness in restoring some visual input to their brains.

The foundation of the Science Eye, Science's flagship BCI system, is a slim and adaptable micro-LED array that is surgically placed over the retina. This implant controls a cluster of light-sensitive cells in the optic nerve, which Science modifies using a kind of optogenetic gene therapy. When a pixel in the array is activated, a corresponding cell in the optic nerve is triggered, and this can help to drive the nerve and transmit visual information to the brain.

The implant developed by Science is powered by specialized glasses equipped with miniature sensors and cameras. These glasses allow the LED array to convert the images it captures into signals, which are then transmitted to the optic nerve.

According to Hodak, the images produced by the Science Eye may appear different from what individuals with normal eyesight are accustomed to seeing, particularly in the early stages of the technology. However, he asserts that the treatment will be particularly beneficial for patients with no light sensitivity. Furthermore, he envisions that Science will eventually be able to replicate high-definition color vision.

Hodak stated that Science has conducted tests on rabbits using the technology and is planning to move forward with human patient trials as early as next year.

According to Science co-founder and CEO Max Hodak, the company's new platform Science Foundry seeks to assist businesses working on similarly ambitious ideas. Hodak predicts that there will be interest from other neurotechnology firms, but he also sees growth prospects for other medical technology startups and even quantum computing businesses.

According to Hodak, the expense of utilizing Science Foundry is similar to that of collaborating with academic institutions, which are comparatively inexpensive to begin with. However, academic institutions usually do not permit companies to test their devices on patients or offer them for sale. Hodak explained that Science Foundry clients will find it simpler to commercialize their products.

According to Hodak, the platform will not only benefit Science but also the wider industry.

Hodak stated that by using the platform, Science can expand its capabilities on a larger scale, which can benefit both the company and the wider community.

Science introduces new platform to speed up medical device innovation, challenging Neuralink

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