Implanted electrodes can help people with paralysis communicate

A groundbreaking research team including a Brown University scientist has achieved a new milestone in developing technology to let people with paralysis type using only brain control.

The method, involving implanted electrodes and a computer, is a significant improvement over other systems, such as those that rely on the blink of an eye.

Although the sample was small — just three individuals, including one volunteer enrolled by the Providence VA Medical Center – the scientists said the results were unambiguous.

This Neural Probe Is So Thin, The Brain Doesn’t Know It’s There

Wiring our brains up to computers could have a host of exciting applications – from controlling robotic prosthetics with our minds to restoring sight by feeding camera feeds directly into the vision center of our brains.

Most brain-computer interface research to date has been conducted using electroencephalography (EEG) where electrodes are placed on the scalp to monitor the brain’s electrical activity. Achieving very high quality signals, however, requires a more invasive approach.

Integrating electronics with living tissue is complicated, though. Probes that are directly inserted into the gray matter have been around for decades, but while they are capable of highly accurate recording, the signals tend to degrade rapidly due to the buildup of scar tissue. Electrocorticography (ECoG), which uses electrodes placed beneath the skull but on top of the gray matter, has emerged as a popular compromise, as it achieves higher-accuracy recordings with a lower risk of scar formation.

But now researchers from the University of Texas have created new probes that are so thin and flexible, they don’t elicit scar tissue buildup. Unlike conventional probes, which are much larger and stiffer, they don’t cause significant damage to the brain tissue when implanted, and they are also able to comply with the natural movements of the brain.

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DARPA: We’re on cusp of merging human and machine

Instead of carrying a smartphone in your pocket or holding it in your hand to make a call or set up restaurant reservations online or search for information, what if you didn’t need the actual device at all?

Maybe you simply could say or think, “Call Mom,” or “Open my Uber app and get me a ride home,” and it would happen because you have a neural interface connecting with a system in the cloud.

With these powerful implantable devices and chips, researchers could help people with paralysis move and feel again by allowing them to control a prosthetic limb with their thoughts.

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Advances in Artificial Intelligence Will Help Machines Understand Human Thoughts using Brain Computer Interface

“With Brain Computer Interface (BCI), Artificial Intelligence can power future machines to understand human thoughts and emotions, even without physical or vocal communication. Instead of simply mimicking the human brain structurally, Artificial Intelligence will be able to impart human-like intelligence to machines.”

Leveraging convergent ideas with technologies, Artificial Intelligence can open up new horizons in groundbreaking applications. Moving beyond syntactical understanding of human words, future applications will understand the semantics hidden in human language, and observe, understand, and detect objects accurately in their surroundings, making them more responsive.

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Virtual Reality Could Aid in Stroke Recovery

When people think of virtual reality, it’s inevitable that they think of the gaming ramifications. Why not? We’re seeing some of the coolest game experiences in the world coming out on a daily basis in this new VR renaissance but if you think that VR is just games, you’re wrong. Researchers are excited about the potential for virtual reality to play a significant role in helping patients recover after loss of mobility due to a stroke.

According to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2013, virtual reality hands that are controlled by a user’s thoughts could aid in the recovery, and enable patients to use their hands and arms.

According to Alexander Doud, M.D., lead author of the study, “Using a brain-computer interface, we’ve created an environment where people who may be too physically impaired to move can practice mental imagery to help regain use of their arms and hands.”

The brain-computer interface that occurs with the VR technology is able to determine if regions of the brain are being activated, which is expected to help in recovery.

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Brain-computer interface advance allows paralyzed people to type almost as fast as some smartphone users

Typing with your mind. You are paralyzed. But now, tiny electrodes have been surgically implanted in your brain to record signals from your motor cortex, the brain region controlling muscle movement. As you think of mousing over to a letter (or clicking to choose it), those electrical brain signals are transmitted via a cable to a computer (replacing your spinal cord and muscles). There, advanced algorithms decode the complex electrical brain signals, converting them instantly into screen actions.

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Scientists restore Leg Movement in Primates with Brain-Spinal Interface


An international team of scientists has used a wireless “brain-spinal interface” to bypass spinal cord injuries in a pair of rhesus macaques, restoring nearly normal intentional walking movement to a temporarily paralyzed leg.

The finding could help in developing a similar system to rehabilitate humans who have had spinal cord injuries.

The system uses signals recorded from a pill-sized electrode array implanted in the motor cortex of the brain to trigger coordinated electrical stimulation of nerves in the spine that are responsible for locomotion.


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A brighter Future for wounded Veterans through Brain-Controlled Bionics


Ever since the first war ever recorded by human beings, paralyzation and amputation of extremities has been a common occurrence. The answer to this problem was usually found in the form of prosthetics or artificial limbs. The oldest documented prosthetic can be traced back to somewhere between 950 and 710 B.C. It was in the form of an artificial toe fashioned from wood and leather. Today, robotic prosthetic limbs are becoming increasingly common, and prosthetics technology continues to advance.


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Robot Exoskeleton will help Patients to walk again


Awearable robot exoskeleton is helping paralyzed patients walk again, thanks to a unique new design that promises more fluid movement. Researchers at Beihang University in China and Aalborg University in Denmark, who had their research published on Tuesday in the Review of Scientific Instruments, now have big plans to expand the robot’s capabilities, using brain signals and virtual reality to help make the experience more immersive.

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BCI-generated Sensory Feedback from Cortical Stimulation


In the quest to restore movement to people with spinal cord injuries, researchers have focused on getting brain signals to disconnected nerves and muscles that no longer receive messages that would spur them to move.

But grasping a cup or brushing hair or cooking a meal requires other feedback that has been lost in amputees and individuals with paralysis—a sense of touch. The brain needs information from a fingertip or limb or external device to understand how firmly a person is gripping or how much pressure is needed to perform everyday tasks.


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