Technology[ edit ] Dummy unit illustrating the design of a BrainGate interface In its current form, BrainGate consists of a sensor implanted in the brain and an external decoder device, which connects to some kind of prosthetic or other external object. The sensor is in the form of a microelectrode array , formerly known as the Utah Array, which consists of hair-thin electrodes that sense the electromagnetic signature of neurons firing in specific areas of the brain, for example, the area that controls arm movement. The sensor translates that activity into electrically charged signals, which are then sent to an external device and decoded in software. The decoder connects to and can use the brain signals to control an external device, such as a robotic arm, a computer cursor, or even a wheelchair. In essence, BrainGate allows a person to manipulate objects in the world using only the mind.
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Donate About Braingate Our research team includes leading neurologists, neuroscientists, engineers, computer scientists, neurosurgeons, mathematicians, and other researchers — all focused on developing brain-computer interface BCI technologies to restore the communication, mobility, and independence of people with neurologic disease, injury, or limb loss. Our research is focused not only on improving the ability to operate a computer, but also on providing people with ALS, spinal cord injury, and stroke with reliable, constant control over their environment.
The collaborative, diverse BrainGate team creates and tests the devices that are ushering in a new era of transformative neurotechnologies. Limited by federal law to investigational use. An exciting goal is to enable naturally-controlled movements of paralyzed limbs. In addition, we are developing a new generation of wireless medical neurotechnologies that will be able to record and monitor neural activity to assist in the diagnosis and management of neurologic disease.
Administrative History of Braingate Over the past few years, there has been substantial scientific and medical progress toward designing powerful restorative neural interfaces for people with paralysis or limb loss. Much of this progress has resulted from decades of fundamental research, funded almost entirely by federal sources, including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Defense, with critical help from philanthropic foundations.
Limited by Federal Law to Investigational Use]. The BrainGate system uses a brain-implantable sensor to detect neural signals that are then decoded to provide control signals for assistive technologies. In , Cyberkinetics received from the U. Hospitals in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Illinois were established as clinical sites for the pilot clinical trial run by Cyberkinetics. Four trial participants with tetraplegia decreased ability to use the arms and legs were enrolled in the study and further helped to develop the BrainGate device.
Initial results from these trials have been published or presented. In , in response to business pressures and changes in the capital markets, Cyberkinetics turned its focus to other medical devices. By early it became clear that Cyberkinetics would eventually need to withdraw completely from directing the pilot clinical trials of the BrainGate device. Also in , Cyberkinetics spun off its device manufacturing to new ownership, Blackrock Microsystems, Inc.
As was true of the decades of fundamental, preclinical research that provided the basis for the recent clinical studies, funding for BrainGate research is now entirely from federal and philanthropic sources.
The BrainGate Research Team at Brown University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Stanford University, Case Western Reserve University, and Providence VA Medical Center comprises clinicians, scientists, and engineers working together to advance understanding of human brain function and to develop neurotechnologies for people with neurologic disease, injury, or limb loss.
We hope that these technologies will become a powerful means to restore communication, mobility, and independence to people with paralysis.