Brown University researchers, in collaboration with Blackrock Microsystems, are starting to test wireless transmitter prototypes as part of the investigational BrainGate Neural Interface System.
Testing is a critical next step toward the use of BrainGate by people with spinal cord injuries and others with tetraplegia or locked-in syndrome, says Brown professor and BrainGate investigator John Simeral. "After years of development led by professor Arto Nurmikko at Brown University, we have created a low-profile, high-bandwidth wireless device, but translating it to use in people requires specific testing," Simeral says.
The testing will begin with the support of a new $50,000 grant as part of stage 1 of the Conquer Paralysis Now Challenge, a $10-million grand prize competition to cure paralysis in the next 10 years.
The BrainGate system is an investigational assistive neurotechnology that aims to replace or restore lost function and enhance independence for people with paralysis. The initial proofs of concept resulted from the research of Brown professor John Donoghue. As a subject attempts to make arm and hand movements, BrainGate records movement-related activity from tiny electrodes in the surface of the brain and translates that activity into instantaneous commands to move a computer cursor, a prosthetic arm and hand, a wheelchair, or other assistive technology.
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