Neurons are cells that use a language of electrical impulses to communicate messages from the brain to the rest of the body. BrainGate™ can sense, transmit, analyze, and apply the language of neurons.
BrainGate™ offers a systems approach which applies the language of neurons in both short- and long-term settings. Our company holds the core intellectual property for the BrainGate™ system. The platform technology is based on the results of many years of research and development at premier academic institutions such as Brown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia, Emory University, and the University of Utah.
BrainGate™ is a path to a better way of life for severely motor-impaired individuals. Through years of advanced research, BrainGate™ is at the forefront of enabling these people with the ability to communicate, interact, and function through thought.
BrainGate’s mission is to further the advancement of this life-changing technology to help impaired individuals better communicate and interact. While our company does not run clinical trials or perform surgery on patients, a number of academic institutions are performing clinical trials across the United States and Europe for brain-computer interfaces. The BrainGate™ Neural Interface has been the subject of a clinical trial being conducted under an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) from the FDA with a small group of patients.
The system is designed to restore functionality for a limited, immobile group of severely motor-impaired individuals. It is expected that people using the BrainGate™system will employ a personal computer as the gateway to a range of self-directed activities. These activities may extend beyond typical computer functions (e.g., communication) to include the control of objects in the environment such as a telephone, a television, lights, and even a wheelchair.
BrainGate™ is based on technology to sense, transmit, analyze, and apply the language of neurons. BrainGate™ consists of a sensor that is implanted on the motor cortex of the brain and a device that analyzes brain signals. From a theoretical standpoint, the principle behind the BrainGate™ system is that with intact brain functionality, brain signals are generated even though they are not sent to the arms, hands, and legs. With BrainGate, the signals are interpreted and translated into cursor movements, offering the user an alternate “BrainGate Pathway™” to control a computer with thought, just as individuals who have the ability to move their hands use a mouse.
At a number of labs across the world, there is development underway on BrainGate™ and related neural interfaces to potentially provide limb movement to people with severe motor disabilities. The goal of this development program is to allow individuals to one day use their own arms and hands again. Limb movement developments are currently at the research stage.
In addition, research is underway to allow for robotic control, such as a thought-controlled wheelchair. In the future, the BrainGate™ system could be used by individuals whose injuries are less severe. Next generation products may be able to provide an individual with the ability to control devices that allow breathing, bladder, and bowel movements. Currently, the BrainGate™ Neural Interface System is an investigational device and our company is focused primarily on innovation and intellectual property development. However, a number of academic, governmental, and health institutions offer neural interfaces through clinical trials.
The Brain/Machine Interface
09:59 From rats to humans, BrainGate is enabling thoughts to action. University of New York, headed by John Chapin Other research including the BrainGate computer Bionic® chip which allows people with the chip implanted to mentally control their…
BrainGate™ Company’s unique technology is able to simultaneously sense the electrical activity of many individual neurons. The 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 BrainGate™ Neural Interface System, the array is implanted in the area of the brain responsible for limb movement. While not currently approved for use, in other future applications, the array may be implanted in areas of the brain responsible for other body processes. While our company is focused on technology innovation and intellectual property, a number of leading academic, governmental, and health organizations are offering our BrainGate technology and related neural interfaces through clinical trials.
Transmit and Analyze
The human brain is a parallel processing supercomputer with the ability to instantaneously process vast amounts of information. BrainGate’s™ 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 BrainGate™ 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. Intellectual property has been developed and research is underway for a wireless device as well.
Our core BrainGate™ technology is available through engineering and manufacturing partners:
NEUROPORT® system for recording and analysis of human brain electrical activity.
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Featuring the Bionic® Array.
With origins in academia and a diversified set of financial backers through the years, BrainGate™ has evolved from a concept to an ongoing clinical trial that is already demonstrated tremendous progress, with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of those who were previously thought to have limited ability to connect with the outside world.
One of the key early innovations for BrainGate™ came from Dr. Donald Humphrey of Emory University. In the late 90s, Dr. Humphrey invented a method for brain-computer interfaces, which became the basis for a rich and diverse patent. Shortly thereafter, a Brown University spin-off called Cyberkinetics™ was formed to turn a collection of laboratory tests into a regulatory approved set of clinical trials for the first-generation neural interface system: the result was the BrainGate™ Neural Interface System. Based on intellectual property from Emory, Brown, The University of Utah, Columbia, and MIT—as well as Cyberkinetics own patent portfolio—Cyberkinetics created a brain-implantable sensor on a Bionic® computer chip smaller than the size of a penny to monitor brain activity in patients and convert the intention of the user into commands.
In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Cyberkinetics the first of two Investigational Device Exemptions (IDEs) to perform this research. Hospitals in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Illinois were established as clinical sites for the pilot trial and four participants with tetraplegia (decreased ability to use the arms and legs) were enrolled in the study. The end result was much more than a proof of concept. The knowledge from the trials further helped to develop the BrainGate™ device and gave a light of hope to severely impaired individuals seeking to reconnect with their family and friends. These trials set off a barrage of press and consumer interest. The shear notion of controlling objects through thought was now a reality and the world took notice.
In the summer of 2009, BrainGate, Co. acquired the rights and assets for the BrainGate™ technology and intellectual property from Cyberkinetics™. This includes numerous trademarks, trade secrets, technology, and over 30 pending and issued patents related to neural interfaces. BrainGate’s primary purpose is to advance the intellectual property and technology, while moving toward the long-term goal of creating a brain implant that allows people to use their thoughts to control electrical devices.
The collective goal of BrainGate™ is that these technologies will become a powerful means to restore communication, mobility, and independence to people in need. With the global community interwoven through advances in technology and the Internet, BrainGate™ now has an infrastructure in place to begin to create a more meaningful way of life for people in need.