In a Stanford-led research report, three participants with movement impairment controlled an onscreen cursor simply by imagining their own hand movements.
A clinical research publication led by Stanford University investigators has demonstrated that a brain-to-computer hookup can enable people with paralysis to type via direct brain control at the highest speeds and accuracy levels reported to date.
A paralyzed man will receive experimental surgery connecting a brain chip to systems that activate muscles in his arm.
Doctors will attempt to reanimate a patient’s paralyzed arm with a pioneering surgery that involves capturing signals from his brain and restoring movement through a fine network of electronics linked to arm muscles.
The new effort, being planned by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, will use a brain computer interface, or BCI, developed by researchers at Brown University and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Pitt/UPMC Team Describes Technology that Lets Spinal Cord-Injured Man Control Robot Arm with Thoughts
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC describe in PLoS ONE how an electrode array sitting on top of the brain enabled a 30-year-old paralyzed man to control the movement of a character on a computer screen in three dimensions with just his thoughts. It also enabled him to move a robot arm to touch a friend’s hand for the first time in the seven years since he was injured in a motorcycle accident.
With brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, the thoughts of Tim Hemmes, who sustained a spinal cord injury that left him unable to move his body below the shoulders, were interpreted by computer algorithms and translated into intended movement of a computer cursor and, later, a robot arm, explained lead investigator Wei Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pitt School of Medicine.
Scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, have successfully bypassed the spinal cord and restored fine motor control to paralyzed limbs using a brain-computer interface.
The researchers have created a neuroprosthesis that combines a brain-computer interface (BCI) that’s wired directly into 100 neurons in the motor cortex of the subject, and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) device that’s wired into the muscles of the subject’s arm. When the subject tries to move his arm or hand, that cluster of around 100 neurons activates, creating a stream of data which can then be read and analyzed by the BCI to predict what muscles the subject is trying to move, and with what level of force. This interpreted data is passed to the FES, which then triggers the right muscles to perform the desired movement.
New Trial Underway at University of Pittsburgh, UPMC
PITTSBURGH, Oct. 10, 2011 – Seven years after a motorcycle accident damaged his spinal cord and left him paralyzed, 30-year-old Tim Hemmes reached up to touch hands with his girlfriend in a painstaking and tender high-five.
Mr. Hemmes, of Evans City, Pa., is the first to participate in a new trial assessing whether the thoughts of a person with spinal cord injury can be used to control the movement of an external device, such as a computer cursor or a sophisticated prosthetic arm. The project, one of two brain-computer interface (BCI) studies underway at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, used a grid of electrodes placed on the surface of the brain to control the arm.