Paralyzed Woman's Neural Implant Still Firing After 1,000 Days

Paralyzed Woman's Neural Implant Still Firing After 1,000 Days

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The implant allows the woman to accurately move a cursor on a computer by just thinking about it.

In 2005, researchers from Brown University in Providence, RI placed a silicon electrode array in the brain of a 50-year-old woman who had been paralyzed - unable to move or speak - since she suffered a stroke in the mid-1990s. The array, about the size of a baby aspirin pill, was able to read electric signals in her brain and allow her to pinpoint a cursor on a computer screen by imagining the movement of her hand. The implant worked well, but the scientists purposefully left the implant in the head of the patient referred to as S3 to test how long a device would last inside a human body. A paper released this week reported that, 1,000 days after the implant was installed, it still functioned relatively well, hopefully proving that long-term neural implants are no longer science-fiction. The question is: where can I get one?

"This proof of concept - that after 1,000 days a woman who has no functional use of her limbs and is unable to speak can reliably control a cursor on a computer screen using only the intended movement of her hand - is an important step for the field," said Dr. Leigh Hochberg, the director of the BrainGate project.

BrainGate is a combination of the hardware of the implant and the software that translates the electrical pulses of the brain to movement on a screen. The tests that S3 underwent were meant to approximate clicking on an application's menu bar, with some targets as small as an icon on your desktop.

"Our objective with the neural interface is to reach the level of performance of a person without a disability using a mouse," said John Simeral, another researcher on the team and the author of the paper.

The team admitted that not every neuron fired as well as it did when it was first installed, but the clinical trial at least proved that more permanent implants were possible. All of the problems were from mechanical or engineering design flaws, and could be corrected with further refinements. The tests being reported on now were actually conducted in 2008, and a full clinical trial is currently being organized by Dr. Leigh Hochberg and her team. We may eventually see these implants as an option for people who have no options.

The BrainGate project is amazing, not only because it shows that many of the gameplay elements we take for granted, say in Deus Ex or BioShock, could actually happen, but because of what it means for humanity. Synthetic body implants are usually considered for cosmetic reasons or to create a "super-soldier" from an already capable human being, but this BrainGate implant allows disabled people a human experience on par with the rest of us.

With this implant, Stephen Hawking would be able to play Myst - at least easier than he could now. And that's just awesome.

Source: Brown University

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Awesome.

Now all we need is a way to input keyboard commands and the last reason for me to preserve my hands is gone.

With this we can surf for porn 10x faster while never stopping to fap.
Science!

Sure beats the hell out of Kinect.

Wonder when they'll have a 3D neural interface that can be used for sculpting CG models. I'd bankrupt myself in a heartbeat if I could get one of those.

Neat. Actually, once i was surfing the internet and i saw this sort of headset thing that is suppose to do the same thing... I look for it if anyone is interested.

Edit: Here it is, it's called Mind Technologies Inc.... sounds like the proper name for one of those "Evil Genius going-to-take-over-the-world hidden lair" deal.

@Gigastar... if your not going to keep those hands of yours anymore, can I have them?! =)

Angel Molina:
Neat. Actually, once i was surfing the internet and i saw this sort of headset thing that is suppose to do the same thing... I look for it if anyone is interrested.

You mean this?

Now if only I could get myself some Microfibral Muscle or Combat Strength.

In short....wow

Now we just need to combine this with the unpowered rocket firing exosuits the scientists made in that other news thread and the shockwave engine from another news thread and we're really cooking with gas.

We have the technology...

While this is great, I'm not sure that I'd want it for my life. If, for almost 15 years I couldn't move a limb or speak, I hope my family would take me out back and shoot me because that's not a life.

Awesome use of technology though.

Interesting, I never thought that a implant like that could last that long without killing off all the surrounding grey matter. Shows what I know!

Also, Stephen Hawking is the only person that can play Myst without help. True fact.

Kinect 2, you're the controller

I suppose the real question is how difficult would it be to make such a device interact with some of the progresses in modern mechanical prostheses...

gigastar:
Awesome.

Now all we need is a way to input keyboard commands and the last reason for me to preserve my hands is gone.

Depends if you have a girlfriend or not.

Ba dum pish!

...

Oh come on, I was only kidding. I expect it's been said before, and it's completely out of character for me, but I deserve the chance, damnit!

This is why science is so awsome YAY FOR SCIENCE

If i ever become criplled or somtthing i want this

Science!

One step closer to cyborgs HUZZAH!

Catalyst6:
Interesting, I never thought that a implant like that could last that long without killing off all the surrounding grey matter. Shows what I know!

Also, Stephen Hawking is the only person that can play Myst without help. True fact.

Stephen Hawking helped Chuck Norris beat Myst, true fact.

I'm sorry I couldn't resist, don't hurt me!

This reminds me of a book I read awhile back, called Feed.

Basically the story was kids where implanted with a device where you could surf the web, shop and calculate through this processor in your head.

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Feed-M-t-Anderson/9780763622596-item.html?ikwid=feed&ikwsec=Home

ummm makes me think of the metallica song "one" if we connect it to a keyboard they will just spam "KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME"

Does anyone else find the way the plug thing just sits there partially buried in her head somewhat disturbing?

Aeshi:
Does anyone else find the way the plug thing just sits there partially buried in her head somewhat disturbing?

As long as it isn't painful, I wouldn't mind having one too.

Score 1 for science. Next step; Stem-cells that can fix the broken bits.

Angel Molina:
Neat. Actually, once i was surfing the internet and i saw this sort of headset thing that is suppose to do the same thing... I look for it if anyone is interested.

Edit: Here it is, it's called Mind Technologies Inc.... sounds like the proper name for one of those "Evil Genius going-to-take-over-the-world hidden lair" deal.

@Gigastar... if your not going to keep those hands of yours anymore, can I have them?! =)

Huh.. I was wondering who else had those, but then I noticed your link is for a form of software.

It's meant to be used with a device I already knew about.
(The Emotiv Epoc headset. - Which, essentially is a 16 electrode EEG grid. It can do some really funky stuff though.)

The device itself, in other words, is from this company:
http://www.emotiv.com/

Welp, add wireless internet to that and you get Ghost in the Shell, so I'm looking forward to when I can go full cyborg in my '50s and prolong my life for another 200 years or whatever.

CrystalShadow:

Angel Molina:

-snip

Huh.. I was wondering who else had those, but then I noticed your link is for a form of software.

It's meant to be used with a device I already knew about.
(The Emotiv Epoc headset. - Which, essentially is a 16 electrode EEG grid. It can do some really funky stuff though.)

The device itself, in other words, is from this company:
http://www.emotiv.com/

I went the online store there and the device (including software) costs $300!!! (or about 200 euros)... That's crazy expensive, but pretty cool never-the-less... I think I'll wait for the price to drop to 50 bucks or so. =)

Angel Molina:

CrystalShadow:

Angel Molina:

-snip

Huh.. I was wondering who else had those, but then I noticed your link is for a form of software.

It's meant to be used with a device I already knew about.
(The Emotiv Epoc headset. - Which, essentially is a 16 electrode EEG grid. It can do some really funky stuff though.)

The device itself, in other words, is from this company:
http://www.emotiv.com/

I went the online store there and the device (including software) costs $300!!! (or about 200 euros)... That's crazy expensive, but pretty cool never-the-less... I think I'll wait for the price to drop to 50 bucks or so. =)

Yeah... That's to be expected. It's still the first of it's kind (well, second, really. But this is way more advanced than the other product like it), and kind of a niche product.

It'd have to become mainstream to drop down to a price like that.

Aside from which, it is in effect a low-budget EEG, and a medical EEG with 16 electrodes is more in the region of $20,000+

(Not to mention that efforts to create usable home-made EEG equipment tend to work out to something like $200 per electrode, which is still $2000 or so.)

So... In context it's not really so bad. XD

(Mind you, personally I'd want a developer's license for one of these, which is more like $500 or even $1500)

 

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