BrainGate Revolutionary Medical Technology

766 Views | 5 hours ago | Published On: June 02,2021 - Last Updated: February 22,2024

BrainGate Revolutionary Medical Technology


BrainGate Revolutionary Medical Technology

After ten years of study and research, Cyberkinetics, a biotech company in Foxboro, Massachusetts, developed BrainGate in 2003. Dr. John Donoghue, director of the brain science program at Brown University, Rhode Island, and chief scientific officer of Cyberkinetics, the company behind brain implants, lead the team to research and develop this brain implant system.

The sensor has a contact lens size implanted in the brain's motor cortex; it controls the movements of the hand and arm. A small wire connects the neuro chip to a pedestal attached to the patient's skull.

A cable connects the base of the skull to a computer. The brain's 100 bn neurons pass between 20 and 200 times/second. The electrical signals are sensed by the implanted sensor in the brain and passed to the computer through the cable.

The BrainGate Neural Interface System is undergoing an experimental clinical trial under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 's Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) supervision. The system is designed to restore functionality to a limited and immobile group of individuals with severe mobility impairments.

BrainGate Neural Interface System
BrainGate Neural Interface System

People using the BrainGate system are expected to use a PC as a gateway to a range of self-directed activities. People using the BrainGate system will likely employ a personal computer as the gateway to a range of self-directed activities. These activities may extend beyond typical computer functions (communication) to include controlling objects in the environment, such as a telephone, a television, and lights.

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 lost control of their limbs or other bodily functions, such as those with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or spinal cord injury.

The computer chip, implanted into the brain, monitors brain activity in the patient and converts the user's intention 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 manifesting in brain activity patterns, such as epilepsy and depression.

Currently, the chip uses 100 hair-thin electrodes that sense the electromagnetic signature of neurons firing in specific areas of the brainfor example, the area that controls arm movement.

Brain-Computer Interface
Brain-Computer Interface

The brain-computer interface (BCI), called a direct neural or brain-machine interface, is a direct communication pathway between a human or animal brain (or brain cell culture) and an external device.

In one-way BCIs, computers either accept commands from the brain or send signals to it (for example, to restore vision), but not both. Two-way BCIs would allow brains and external devices to exchange information in both directions but have yet to be successfully implanted in animals or humans.

In this definition, the word brain means the brain or nervous system of an organic life rather than the mind. Computer means any processing or computational device, from simple circuits to silicon chips (including hypothetical future technologies such as quantum computing).

Future of the BCI
Future of the BCI

Cyberkinetics has a vision, CEO Tim Surgenor explained to Gizmag, but it is not promising "miracle cures" or that quadriplegic people will be able to walk again - yet.

Their primary goal is to help restore many activities of daily living that are impossible for paralyzed people and to provide a platform for developing a wide range of other assistive devices.

Cyberkinetics hopes to refine the BrainGate in the next two years to develop an entirely implantable wireless device that doesn't have a plug, making it safer and less visible. If they're willing to be implanted, Surgenor also sees a time close enough when normal humans are interfacing with BrainGate technology to enhance their relationship with the digital world.

The invention of BrainGate is such a revolution in the medical field. This incredible invention offers excellent hope that paralyzed people can one day operate artificial limbs, computers, or wheelchairs independently.


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