An investigational implanted system being developed to translate brain signals toward control of assistive devices has allowed a woman with paralysis to accurately control a computer cursor at 2.7 years after implantation, providing a key demonstration that neural activity can be read out and converted into action for an unprecedented length of time.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Demonstrating an important milestone for the longevity and utility of implanted brain-computer interfaces, a woman with tetraplegia using the investigational BrainGate* system continued to control a computer cursor accurately through neural activity alone more than 1,000 days after receiving the BrainGate implant, according to a team of physicians, scientists, and engineers developing and testing the technology at Brown University, the Providence VA Medical Center, and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Results from five consecutive days of device use surrounding her 1,000th day in the device trial appeared online March 24 in the Journal of Neural Engineering.
“This proof of concept — that after 1,000 days a woman who has no functional use of her limbs and is unable to speak can reliably control a cursor on a computer screen using only the intended movement of her hand — is an important step for the field,” said Dr. Leigh Hochberg, a Brown engineering associate professor, VA rehabilitation researcher, visiting associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, and director of the BrainGate pilot clinical trial at MGH. ...
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