Fischell's implant in the brain
Techdirt points to another Silicon Valley gem today about the 76-year-old inventor Robert Fischell, who is developing a computerized implant that goes inside the skull and treats a variety of ailments and diseases. The picture at left shows Fischell holding the device.
The thinking is that manipulating the brain's electrical signals can stimulate and heal problem areas, and do so in a much more targeted way than current medication that affects the whole body.
Full story is at Fortune, here. The article says Fischell is behind nearly 200 medical-device patents, "many of which no one thought would work, including an insulin-pump implant for diabetics and two of the world's bestselling coronary stents." We just searched our Mercury News archives for stories about Fischell, and we find he's appeared several times over the past two decades in articles about all kinds of radical sounding inventions.
For some reason, the Merc hasn't written anything of signifinace on this latest company of his, Neuropace, based in Mountain View. According to Fortune, Fischell founded Neuropace seven years ago, with $10 million from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and roughly $20 million from Johnson & Johnson. He and his son, David Fischell, and neurologist Adrian Upton, then designed the company's flagship product, the Responsive Neurostimulator -- "a silver-dollar-sized implant with electrode wires designed to detect abnormal electrical activity in the brain." We did find in our archives, however, that Kleiner Perkins and other venture capital firms have pumped in an additional $47 million into Neuropace since 2000. This is one product worth following.
Check out this insightful video of Fischell, taken for the TED prize awarded this year, in Monterey. Among other things, we find his father was a shoe-salesman who didn't finish eighth grade.