What is BrainGate™?

BrainGate™ (the company) is a privately-held firm focused on the advancement of the ground-breaking BrainGate™ Neural Interface Technology and Intellectual Property.

BrainGate™ Co. owns the intellectual property of the BrainGate™ system. The company purchased certain intellectual property, technology, and knowhow from Cyberkinetics in April 2009 and is partnering with leading academic institutions, corporations, and various non-profit and government organizations interested in the advancement of movement through thought.

How does BrainGate™ work?

BrainGate™ Company’s current and planned intellectual property (the technology) is based on technology that can 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. The sensor consists of a silicon array about the size of a baby aspirin that contains approximately one hundred electrodes, each thinner than a human hair. The principle of operation behind the BrainGate™ System is that with intact brain function, brain signals are generated even though they are not sent to the arms, hands and legs. 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.

Are there products being developed using this technology?

There is development underway at the BrainGate™ Co. to identify opportunities to provide limb movement to people with severe motor disabilities. The goal of this development program would be to allow individuals to one day use their own arms and hands again. Limb movement developments are currently at the research stage and are not available for use with the existing BrainGate™ System. In addition, products are in development and concept stage to allow for robotic control, such as a thought-controlled wheelchair. In the future, technology from BrainGate™ Co. could be used by those 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.

How can patients communicate through thought?

The human brain is a super computer with the ability to instantaneously process vast amounts of information. BrainGate™ Company’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 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.

Who are the key pioneers of this medical break-through?

Check the Pioneers Section.

What is the intellectual property surrounding BrainGate™?