Brain Gate Report

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1. INTRODUCTION Brain Gate is a brain implant system developed by the bio-tech company Cyber kinetics in 2003 in conjunction with the Department of Neuroscience at Brown University. The device was designed to help those who have lost control of their limbs, or other bodily functions, such as patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or spinal cord injury. The computer chip, which is implanted into the brain, monitors brain activity in the patient and converts the intention of the user i
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  1 1.   INTRODUCTION Brain Gate is a brain implant system developed by the bio-tech company Cyberkinetics in 2003 in conjunction with the Department of Neuroscience at BrownUniversity. The device was designed to help those who have lost control of theirlimbs, or other bodily functions, such as patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(ALS) or spinal cord injury. The computer chip, which is implanted into the brain,monitors brain activity in the patient and converts the intention of the user intocomputer commands.Cyber kinetics describes that, Such applications may include novelcommunications interfaces for motor impaired patients, as well as the monitoringand treatment of certain diseases which manifest themselves in patterns of brainactivity, such as epilepsy and depression. According to the Cyber kinetics' website, three patients have been implantedwith the Brain Gate system. The company has confirmed that one patient (MattNagle) has a spinal cord injury, while another has advanced ALS.The remarkable breakthrough offers hope that people who are paralyzed willone day be able to independently operate artificial limbs, computers orwheelchairs. The implant, called Brain Gate, allowed Matthew Nagle, a 25-year-old Massachusetts man who has been paralyzed from the neck down since 2001, tocontrol a cursor on a screen and to open and close the hand on a prosthetic limb just by thinking about the relevant actions. Professor Donoghue's work is publishedtoday in Nature. He describes how, after a few minutes spent calibrating theimplant, Mr. Nagle could read emails and play the computer game Pong. He was  2 able to draw circular shapes using a paint program and could also change channeland turn up the volume on a television, even while talking to people around him.After several months, he could also operate simple robotic devices such as aprosthetic hand, which he used to grasp and move objects from his wheelchair.This marks the first time that neural movement signals have been recorded anddecoded in a human with spinal cord injury. The system is also the first to allow ahuman to control his surrounding environment using his mind. 1.1.   Mathew Nagle using Brain Gate NAGLE’S STATEMENT:   “I can't put it into words. It's just—  I use my brain. I just thought it. I said, Cursorgo up to the top right. And it did, and now I can control it all over the screen. It will give me a sense of independence.”    3 In addition to real-time analysis of neuron patterns to relay movement, theBrain gate array is also capable of recording electrical data for later analysis. Apotential use of this feature would be for a neurologist to study seizure patterns in apatient with epilepsy. The 'Brain Gate' device can provide paralyzed or motor-impaired patients a mode of communication through the translation of thought intodirect computer control. The technology driving this breakthrough in the Brain-Machine-Interface field has a myriad of potential applications, including thedevelopment of human augmentation for military and commercial purposes.The Brain Fate Neural Interface device consists of a tiny chip containing 100microscopic electrodes that is surgically implanted in the brain's motor cortex. Thistiny chip contains tiny spikes that will extend down about one millimeter into thebrain after being implanted beneath the skull, monitoring the activity from a smallgroup of neurons. The chip can read signals from the motor cortex, send thatinformation to a computer via connected wires, and translate it to control themovement of a computer cursor or a robotic arm. It will now be possible for apatient with spinal cord injury to produce brain signals that relay the intention of moving the paralyzed limbs, as signals to an implanted sensor, which is then outputas electronic impulses. These impulses enable the user to operate mechanicaldevices with the help of a computer cursor. The whole apparatus is the size of ababy aspirin.According to Dr. John Donaghue of Cyber kinetics, there is practically notraining required to use Brain Gate because the signals read by a chip implanted,for example, in the area of the motor cortex for arm movement, are the samesignals that would be sent to the real arm. A user with an implanted chip canimmediately begin to move a cursor with thought alone. However, becausemovement carries a variety of information such as velocity, direction, and  4 acceleration, there are many neurons involved in controlling that movement. BrainGate is only reading signals from an extremely small sample of those cells and,therefore, only receiving a fraction of the instructions. Without all of theinformation, the initial control of a robotic hand may not be as smooth as thenatural movement of a real hand. But with practice, the user can refine thosemovements using signals from only that sample of cells.The Brain Gate technology platform was designed to take advantage of thefact that many patients with motor impairment have an intact brain that canproduce movement commands. This may allow the Brain Gate system to create anoutput signal directly from the brain, bypassing the route through the nerves to themuscles that cannot be used in paralyzed people.Brain gate is currently recruiting patients with a range of neuromuscular andneurodegenerative conditions for pilot clinical trials in the United States. Cyberkinetics hopes to refine the Brain Gate in the next two years to develop a wirelessdevice that is completely implantable and doesn't have a plug, making it safer andless visible and once the basics of brain mapping are worked out there is potentialfor a wide variety of further applications. Surgeon explains, If you could detect orpredict the onset of epilepsy, which would be a huge therapeutic application forpeople who have seizures, which leads to the idea of a 'Pacemaker for the Brain'.So eventually people may have this technology in their brains and if somethingstarts to go wrong it will take a therapeutic action. That could be available by 2007to 2008.
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