<p>The <a href="http://www.braingate2.org/">BrainGate brain-computer interface</a>* is designed to restore independence for patients with severe paralysis – often including an inability to speak – by giving them direct brain control of electronic devices such as robot arms, computers and wheelchairs.</p>

Sources (Contact: David Orenstein, david_orenstein@brown.edu, 401-863-1862)

  • John Donoghue, the Henry Merritt Wriston Professor of neuroscience and engineering and director of the Brown Institute for Brain Science;
  • Dr. Leigh Hochberg, associate professor of engineering.

Patients who do not have the use of arms or legs can think about moving their arm and hand. A baby aspirin-size implant on the surface of the motor cortex of the brain detects the neural activity that produces those movement commands. External computers running BrainGate software translate the commands to control the devices.

For several years the technology based on fundamental neuroscience research at Brown University has been tested in the BrainGate2 clinical trial, a collaboration among several institutions. With neuroscientists, engineers, physicians, computer scientists, and applied mathematicians working in concert, BrainGate is an example of integrative scholarship in the brain sciences.

The team reports major milestones in scientific journals, including Nature, generating worldwide public interest:

In February 2013, BrainGate engineers reported the development of a fully implantable, rechargeable, broadband wireless version of the sensor.

For its ongoing work to develop assistive neurotechnology for people with severe paralysis, the team earned the $1-million B.R.A.I.N. prize last year in Israel.