Neurological disorders or spinal cord injuries are the most malignant diseases around the world. According to a research, hundreds of millions of people worldwide are induced by these chronicle infirmity and approximately 6 million people die every year due these diseases! At the forefront of such treacherous disabilities, interfacing brain with computers comes out as bolt from the blue ! Neuro engineering has innovated a technique named as “Brain Gate” that proceed as an advantage in medical technology . These neural interfaces within brain and computers are under research state to consent people procuring congenital anomalies for transmission of thoughts into interpreted signals resulting in computer cursor movement . This is quite similar to individuals percolating the actions to control computer mouse with hands.
What is a brain computer interface (BCI) ?
Brain gate (also known as Brain computer interface) is based on a technology of cyber kinetics which detect , send , analyze and apply the language of neurons. It is a huge field technology describing how human and computers can merge up together. People with disabilities are able to control free standing robotic arms with the help of shrimp sized sensor (sensors used here are multi-electrode array formally known as Utah array comprising of hundred thin hair electrodes which senses the electromagnetic signals of neurons) and an external decoding device implanted inside the motor cortex of brain which monitors brain activities of a patient and also convert nerve pulses into electrical signals. These electrical signals are sent to the robotic arm and is decoded by the software . Decoder can now access the commands of brain signals such as movement of robotic arm or a wheel chair.
It also has the potential to record electrical data which turns out to be beneficial for those having a disease of epilepsy.
Some of the Facts
- Brain gate was originally developed by neuroscience department with a bio-technical company named as cyber kinetics. After few years brain gate purchased the related technologies from cyber kinetics and is now leading the empire.
- The robotic arms used here were : DLR light weight robot III with DLR five fingered hand and DEKA arm.
- The first clinical trial of brain gate was operated at Brown University, Massachusetts General Hospital. Researches experimented that people with tetraplegia disease can access the relatable actions such as movement of computer’s cursor , checking individual’s mail and operating television etc. merely by thinking.
- Brain gate Researches claims that paralyzed people can now grasp and fetch things through robotic arm. Cathy Hutchinson, one of the participant who was able to sip a coffee from bottle through a robotic arm. It was her first time that she was able to hold a bottle on her own. Further adding up she said, ” I was just thinking about to move my arm and the arm moved where I wanted it to move “.
- Director of biomimetic robotics said, “Our main goal is to create an arm that could be able to function by varying forms of control. This is compelling demonstration of the potency utility of the arm by a patient with paralysis.