New material could deliver improvements to brain-computer interfaces

Research has been undertaken for quite a while to find a way to help those who suffer spinal cord injuries to regain limb mobility. One such approach has involved the use of a brain-computer interface in the form of an implanted chip which can then record and transmit signals.

Such interfaces typically rely upon electrodes to provide the physical connection with neurotransmitters. At present, thin-film platinum is at the cutting edge as far as electrode materials are concerned. However, longevity has become an issue as thin-film platinum electrodes have been prone to fracture and disintegration over time.

In response to this issue, Sam Kassegne, deputy director for The Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) at San Diego State University (SDSU), and colleagues developed electrodes out of ‘glassy carbon’. One major benefit of this form of carbon is that given its smoothness compared to thin-film platinum, corrosion becomes less of an issue while transmitting electrical signals. Another improvement gained through the use of glassy carbon is its superior carriage properties, with Kassegne saying that:

“You get about twice as much signal-to-noise. It’s a much clearer signal and easier to interpret.”

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One Thousand Minds Connected LIVE

In Theaters Mar 28


One Thousand Minds Connected LIVE

Cinema audiences will help make neuroscience history: for the first time, one thousand human minds will be simultaneously connected via cloud technology while they watch MindGamers. An image of that mass mind-state will be broadcast to cinemas across the nation as audiences in two locations participate by wearing a cognition headband.

Headlined by Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) and Tom Payne (The Walking Dead), the film follows a group of brilliant young students who create a wireless neural network with the potential to link every mind on Earth via a quantum computer. But they soon discover that that their innovation is part of a more sinister experiment.

This once-in-a-lifetime event will open with introductory talks from leaders in the fields of technology, neuroscience and the collective consciousness. Following the immersive feature film, MindGamers, the event will conclude with a LIVE Q&A and reveal the world’s first image of collective human cognition… created simultaneously by the audience.

Typing via Brain Computer Interface

A clinical research publication led by Stanford University investigators has demonstrated that a brain-to-computer hookup can enable people with paralysis to type via direct brain control at the highest speeds and accuracy levels reported to date.

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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New Body “Communication Highways” with Neuroprostetics


An expert trained at the University of New Brunswick says prosthetics powered by artificial intelligence are no longer the stuff of science fiction — thought-controlled bionic limbs have already arrived and are getting more sophisticated by the day.

Levi Hargrove, director of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and UNB graduate, will return to his alma matter [sic] next week to deliver a lecture on “rewiring humans” who have lost limbs using state-of-the-art artificial prosthetics controlled by the power of the mind.


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Study: Your Brain can adapt to Dishonesty and Deception


When it comes to lying, practice makes perfect because the brain slowly adapts to ignore the emotions produced by deception, according to new research.

Whether it’s a ‘‘the dog ate my homework’’ lie or financial fraud, most people know small transgressions can gradually lead to larger ones.


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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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Can BCIs convert Thoughts into Text?


Ever wonder what it would be like if a device could decode your thoughts into actual speech or written words? While this might enhance the capabilities of already existing speech interfaces with devices, it could be a potential game-changer for those with speech pathologies, and even more so for “locked-in” patients who lack any speech or motor function.


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