Precision Neuroscience deploys 4,096 electrodes in brain-computer interface procedure

Brain-computer interface startup Precision Neuroscience said it has claimed the world record for the number of electrodes used to detect a person’s thoughts—quadrupling the number used to read signals in Neuralink’s implant.

The company announced that during a procedure led by surgeons at Mount Sinai Health System in April, 4,096 electrodes were temporarily placed within a single patient enrolled in its clinical study. Precision said the benefits could become obvious: more electrodes mean more data. 

The company’s Layer 7 Cortical Interface includes a thin, flat, flexible film containing 1,024 electrodes. Four were used to cover a total area of about 8 square centimeters on the surface of the patient’s gray matter.

“Precision’s brain-computer interface system was designed for scalability—meaning that we can continue to add electrodes to the surface of the brain without damaging tissue,” Precision’s co-founder and chief science officer, Benjamin Rapoport, said in a statement. The device is designed for a reversible, minimally invasive procedure, where the films can be slotted through slit-like incisions in the skull.

“This record is a significant step towards a new era. The ability to capture cortical information of this magnitude and scale could allow us to understand the brain in a much deeper way,” added Rapoport, who previously served as a founding member of Elon Musk’s Neuralink and is also a faculty member at Mount Sinai.

While not yet in the Guinness Book, Precision pegged the field’s previous best at 2,048 electrodes—though the recordkeeper does maintain entries for “Fastest communication speed using a Brain-Computer Interface” (UC San Francisco, 78 words per minute) and “Heaviest machine moved using a brain control interface” (61.95 tons).

In the company’s open procedure—described in a report by CNBC as the removal of a benign brain tumor—its array of electrodes was used to help map out the boundaries of brain tissue responsible for motor control and sensory perception. It’s an area that neurosurgeons must keep in mind as they work.

The use of electrode sensors during those types of surgeries is common, but not in the numbers being provided by Precision.

“It is easy to see the impact that high-resolution cortical mapping could have in the operating room,” said Joshua Bederson, chair of neurosurgery at Mount Sinai. “It could be used to guide more precise and efficient procedures, which could potentially lead to better outcomes for patients.”

Precision said it is also testing out its implant through collaborations with West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute and Penn Medicine’s Perelman School of Medicine, to study its ability to restore speech and movement among paralyzed patients. The company stated a goal of releasing its first commercial product next year.