Brain Gate Abstract
Brain Gate is a brain implant system developed by the bio-tech company Cyberkinetics 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 into computer commands.
Currently the chip uses 100 hair-thin electrodes that sense the electro-magnetic signature of neurons firing in specific areas of the brain, for example, the area that controls arm movement. The activities are translated into electrically charged signals and are then sent and decoded using a program, which can move either a robotic arm or a computer cursor.
Brain Gate Video
Brain Gate Camera?
the brain gate pilot device consists of a Sensor of the size of a contact lens, a cable and pedestal, which connects the chip to the computer, a cart which consists the signal processing unit.
The Brain Gate Neural Interface Device is a proprietary brain-computer interface that consists of an internal neural signal sensor and external processors that convert neural signals into an output signal under the users own control. The sensor consists of a tiny chip smaller than a baby aspirin, with one hundred electrode sensors each thinner than a hair that detect brain cell electrical activity.
The chip is implanted on the surface of the brain in the motor cortex area that controls movement. In the pilot version of the device, a cable connects the sensor to an external signal processor in a cart that contains computers. The computers translate brain activity and create the communication output using custom decoding software. Importantly, the entire Brain Gate system was specifically designed for clinical use in humans and thus, its manufacture, assembly and testing are intended to meet human safety requirements. Five quadriplegics patients in all are enrolled in the pilot study, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Existing technology stimulates muscle groups that can make an arm move. The problem Surgenor and his team faced was in creating an input or control signal. With the right control signal they found they could stimulate the right muscle groups to make arm movement.
Neurons are cells that use a language of electrical impulses to communicate messages from the brain to the rest of the body. At Cyberkinetics, we have the technology to sense, transmit, analyze and apply the language of neurons. We are developing products to restore function, as well as to monitor, detect, and respond to a variety of neurological diseases and disorders.
Cyberkinetics offers a systems approach with a core technology to sense, transmit, analyze and apply the language of neurons in both short and long-term settings. Our platform technology is based on the results of several years of research and development at premier academic institutions such as Brown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Emory University, and the University of Utah.
Cyberkinetics’ unique technology is able to simultaneously sense the electrical activity of many individual neurons. Our sensor consists of a silicon array about the size of a baby aspirin that contains one hundred electrodes, each thinner than a human hair. The array is implanted on the surface of the brain. In the Brain Gate Neural Interface System, the array is implanted in the area of the brain responsible for limb movement. In other applications the array may be implanted in areas of the brain responsible for other body processes.
Transmit and Analyze
The human brain is a super computer with the ability to instantaneously process vast amounts of information. Cyberkinetics’ technology allows for an extensive amount of electrical activity data to be transmitted from neurons in the brain to computers for analysis. In the current Brain Gate System, a bundle consisting of one hundred gold wires connects the array to a pedestal which extends through the scalp. The pedestal is connected by an external cable to a set of computers in which the data can be stored for off-line analysis or analyzed in real-time. Signal processing software algorithms analyze the electrical activity of neurons and translate it into control signals for use in various computer-based applications.
Cyberkinetics’ ability to generate control signals and develop computer application interfaces provides us with a platform to develop multiple clinical products. For example, using the Brain Gate Neural Interface System, a person may be able to use his thoughts to control cursor motion and/or replicate keystrokes on a computer screen. In another example, a doctor may study patterns of brain electrical activity in patients with epilepsy before, during and after seizures.
Implanting The Chip
There will be two surgeries, one to implant the Brain Gate and one to remove it. Before surgery, there will be several precautionary measures in order to prevent infection; patients will have daily baths with antimicrobial soap and take antibiotics. In addition, MRI scans will be done to find the best place on the brain for the sensor. Under sterile conditions and general anesthesia, Doctor will drill a small hole into the skull and implant the sensor using the same methods as in the monkey studies. Patients will receive post-surgical care including a CT scan, some blood tests, and wound care in the hospital for 1 to 5 days after surgery. After surgery, one of the study doctors will see the patients at least once a week for six weeks, then monthly and as needed. A nurse will also check the patients regularly and will always carry a 24-hour pager. The skin around the pedestal will need to be carefully monitored during the study. Detailed instructions will be provided so that the patient’s daily care provider can help with skin care.
How Brain Gate works?
The sensor of the size of a contact lens is implanted in brain’s percental gyrus which control hand and arm movements. A tiny wire connects the chip to a small pedestal secured in the scull. A cable connects the pedestal to a computer. The brain’s 100bn neurons fire between 20 and 200 times a second .The sensor implanted in the brain senses these electrical signals and passes to the pedestal through the wire. The pedestal passes this signals to the computer through the cable. The computer translates the signals into a communication output, allowing a person to move a cursor on a computer screen merely by thinking about it.
Brain Gate Advantages
- The Brain Gate Neural Interface System is being designed to one day allow the user to interface with a computer and/or other devices at a level of speed, accuracy and precision that is comparable to, or even faster than, what is possible with the hands of a non-disabled person.
- The Brain Gate System may offer substantial improvement over existing assistive technologies.Currently available assistive devices have significant limitations for both the person in need and the caregiver..
- Potential advantages of the BrainGate System over other muscle driven or brain-based computer interface approaches include: its potential to interface with a computer without weeks or months of training;
- its potential to be used in an interactive environment, where the user’s ability to operate the device is not affected by their speech, eye movements or ambient noise;
- the ability to provide significantly more usefulness and utility than other approaches by connecting directly to the part of the brain that controls hand movement and gestures.
Brain Gate Drawbacks
- The disadvantage of the Brain Gate System is that at this time, while still being perfected, the switches must be frequently adjusted which is a time consuming process.
- As the device is perfected this will not be an issue. There is also a worry that devices such as this will “normalize” society.
- The Brain Gate Neural Interface System has not been approved by the FDA, but has been approved for IDE status, which means that it has been approved for pre-market clinical trials.
- There are no estimates on cost or insurance at this time.