Wednesday, August 04, 2010

BrainGate: "Thought into Action"

[Braingate is] a way for people who’ve been paralyzed by strokes, spinal cord injuries or A.L.S. to connect their brains to the outside world. The system uses a tiny sensor that’s been implanted into the part of a person’s brain that generates movement commands. This sensor picks up brain signals, transmits them to a plug attached to the person’s scalp. The signals then go to a computer which is programmed to translate them into simple actions.

From this interview of Prof. John Donoghue of Brown University. His lab's website has this slogan: Thought into Action"

Here's one more excerpt from the interview:

Q. At the recent World Science Festival, you showed a video of a paralyzed woman who employed her thoughts to move a robotic arm. She guided the arm to pick up a glass. To everyone watching, it seemed a miracle.

A. Well, for her it was, too. Most paralyzed people, they’re just like anyone else. Their minds are still working. They just can’t get their brain to control their body. Their dignity suffers because they can’t do anything without assistance — including, in some cases, breathing.

So for this woman, moving the glass was a very big thing. The participants in our study just want the chance to do for themselves and not be dependent. I remember once we were discussing the project with several potential participants.

“Would you like to walk again?” someone asked an interested candidate. “No, I’d just like to be able to scratch my own nose,” he answered.


  1. gaddeswarup said...

    Another along similar lines: