Brain-Machine Interface May Help those with Spinal Cord Injuries

brain-machine interface
Researchers have used new technology to bypass the spinal cord and move a paralyzed hand.

New technology under development at Northwestern University is able to bypass the spinal cord and deliver electrical messages from the brain directly to muscles. In experiments done with monkeys, the brain-machine interface was able to cause both voluntary and complex movement in a paralyzed hand.

“We are eavesdropping on the natural electrical signals from the brain that tell the arm and hand how to move, and sending those signals directly to the muscles. This connection from brain to muscles might someday be used to help patients paralyzed due to spinal cord injury perform activities of daily living and achieve greater independence.”

—Lee E. Miller, the Edgar C. Stuntz Distinguished Professor in Neuroscience, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Along with his team, Miller, the lead investigator for a brain-machine technology study published in the journal Nature, has designed a multi-electrode array implant, which is able to detect brain activity and serves as the brain-computer interface to generate hand movements.

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© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.


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