Bypassing Spinal Cord, New Brain-Computer Interface Sends Signals Directly from Brain to Muscles
A new Northwestern Medicine brain-machine technology delivers messages from the brain directly to the muscles – bypassing the spinal cord – to enable voluntary and complex movement of a paralyzed hand. The device could eventually be tested on, and perhaps aid, paralyzed patients.
The researchers then gave the monkeys a local anesthetic to block nerve activity at the elbow, causing temporary, painless paralysis of the hand. A tiny multi-electrode array was used to detect the activity of about 100 neurons in the brain and link it to a computer that deciphers the signals that generate hand movements.