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Brain-Computer Interface


A new study in Nature
reports that two paralyzed persons are able to control a robotic arm directly with their brain activity, in order to reach and grasp objects. The device is the BrainGate neural interface system and was developed by scientists and engineers of the Brown University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Department of Veterans Affairs and German Aerospace Centre. The project aims to transform the thought into action.  
Using the BrainGate, the woman, paralyzed for 15 years, is able to control the arm, grasp a bottle with coffee and bring it to her mouth in order to drink.
The components of the BCI are: a sensor implanted in the brain which reads her thoughts, a decoder which records the brain activity and transforms it in a command, and an assistive technology (in this case a robotic arm, but in previous studies it was a cursor on a display. Of course, move a robotic arm is more complicated than move a cursor, because the arm is 3D and can grasp objects).
The research shows that brain signals can bring multidimensional information, also movement information, even after years of paralysis.
The final goal is to make the device suitable for communicating signals directly in limbs of disabled persons, in order to reactivate the parts of the human body without having to use robotic mechanisms.

A video of the experiment

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