Florian Solzbacher, MS, PhD
Co-founder and Chairman, Blackrock Neurotech; Professor and Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering & Director of the Center for Engineering Innovation, University of Utah.
“It Won’t Work”: The Perception Challenge Facing Commercial BCIs
Medical brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) appear to be heading toward an inflection point: in the past decade, the number and frequency of technological breakthroughs have increased significantly. These devices have the profound potential to become practical tools that restore lost function and address a variety of neurological disorders.
And though the first generations of commercially available products appear to be imminent, the most significant challenge to commercializing the technology remains: the perception that implantable BCIs are associated with unacceptably high risks, will not see regulatory approval and aren’t economically viable.
The Perception Challenge is simply the belief—among parts of the clinical community, investors and the medical device industry—that BCIs would not be accepted by the majority of eligible users, aren’t salable, profitable, or both.
What is fueling the disbelief in commercial BCIs? How can advocates of medical BCIs, among patient advocates, potential users, caretakers, physicians and business, challenge this perception? And how can the field ensure that conventional health insurers aren’t the (sole) gatekeepers of BCI technology by holding the purse strings and controlling access?
This talk will explore the commercial and economic roadblocks to widespread patient adoption and suggest avenues of disrupting conventional thinking about medical BCIs.
A leading authority on chronically implantable sensors for electrophysiological and chemical biomarkers, Dr. Solzbacher serves as Director, Chair, and Advisor to a host of internationally renowned academic institutions, public-private partnerships, and innovative companies. As Chairman and President of Blackrock Neurotech, Dr. Solzbacher drives the company’s technological vision, with a focus on restorative tech for neurological conditions.
Among his varied leadership positions, Dr. Solzbacher serves as Director of the Center for Engineering Innovation at the University of Utah, Co-Director of the Utah Nanotechnology Institute, and holds faculty appointments in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Science, and Bioengineering. His research focuses on harsh environment microsystems and materials, including implantable, wireless microsystems for biomedical and healthcare applications, and on high-temperature and harsh environment compatible micro sensors.
Dr. Solzbacher received his MSc EE from the Technical University Berlin and his PhD from the Technical University Ilmenau.