Revolutionizing Brain-Computer Interfaces via Groundbreaking Graphene Technology

The GphT-BCI project, led by INBRAIN Neuroelectronics and with Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) as a partner, commenced on December 1, 2023, and is set to revolutionize the landscape of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs). BCIs are devices that establish a direct communication pathway between the brain and an external device, such as a computer or a prosthetic device, and thus promise to help patients with neurological disorders or with lost motor or sensory capabilities. Recognizing the palpable excitement surrounding this technology, the project addresses the limitations faced by current BCIs. Named the Technology of the Year 2023 by Nature Electronics, efforts worldwide are dedicated to realize the transition of BCIs from research labs to commercial settings. However, the absence of a technology platform combining all the necessary properties for building accurate and scalable brain-computer interfaces has been a significant hurdle.

Developed as part of Graphene Flagship and the BrainCom projects by researchers at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) and at the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM-CSIC), GphT-BCI will mature a novel type of graphene-based transistors, a technology that has been licensed to INBRAIN Neuroelectronics for its world-wide exploitation in clinical applications. The graphene-based transistors have been already validated in preclinical settings, demonstrating their application in high-resolution brain-computer interfaces with multiplexing capabilities and sensitivity across a wide range of frequencies.

Leveraging the unique properties of graphene, the system requires fewer wires, minimizing invasiveness, and allowing integration into ultra-soft flexible substrates for optimal contact with brain tissue. The project aims to pave the way for clinical translation, involving scaling up the micro-fabrication process, developing human-compliant read-out electronics, safety assessment, and a comprehensive plan for clinical trials.

The GphT-BCI project not only addresses the current limitations in BCIs but also presents a strategic business model for entering and transforming the BCI market. The projected market size of USD 5.69 Bn by 2030 offers a significant opportunity. The project plans a two-stage product rollout, starting with neural presurgical and intraoperative acute brain mapping, providing real-time insights for neurosurgeons using graphene-based transistors. In the second stage, the project aims to advance towards chronic BCIs with ultra-high resolution decoding capabilities, targeting applications in neurology such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and stroke, as well as indications like aphasia or paraplegia. With a comprehensive R&D approach, methodology, and engagement with Key Opinion Leaders, the GphT-BCI project will help INBRAIN Neuroelectronics to lead a transformative shift in the BCI landscape.

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