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BrainGate

Added on: December 26th, 2016 by Afsal Meerankutty No Comments

BrainGate is a brain implant system developed by the bio-tech company Cyberkinetics in 2003 in conjunction with the Department of Neuroscience at Brown University. The device was designed to help those who have lost control of their limbs, or other bodily functions, such as patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or spinal cord injury. The computer chip, which is implanted into the brain, monitors brain activity in the patient and converts the intention of the user into computer commands. Cyberkinetics describes that “such applications may include novel communications interfaces for motor impaired patients, as well as the monitoring and treatment of certain diseases which manifest themselves in patterns of brain activity, such as epilepsy and depression.”

The Braingate Neural Interface device consists of a tiny chip containing 100 microscopic electrodes that is surgically implanted in the brain’s motor cortex. The whole apparatus is the size of a baby aspirin. The chip can read signals from the motor cortex, send that information to a computer via connected wires, and translate it to control the movement of a computer cursor or a robotic arm. According to Dr. John Donaghue of Cyberkinetics, there is practically no training required to use BrainGate because the signals read by a chip implanted, for example, in the area of the motor cortex for arm movement, are the same signals that would be sent to the real arm. A user with an implanted chip can immediately begin to move a cursor with thought alone.

The BrainGate technology platform was designed to take advantage of the fact that many patients with motor impairment have an intact brain that can produce movement commands. This may allow the BrainGate system to create an output signal directly from the brain, bypassing the route through the nerves to the muscles that cannot be used in paralysed people.

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Topic Category - Electronics Topics, Paramedical Topics
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