Spinal cord injury (SCI) can result in the loss of both movement and sensation. Over the last decade the use of Brain-Machine Interfaces in clinical trials have allowed individuals to control their movement again through computers or robotic prosthetics. However, to restore sensation is equally important. Conveying sensation lost after SCI would allow individuals to interact more meaningfully with their environment. For example, having sensation has the potential to allow individuals to control more dexterous prosthetic devices or simply to restore sensation during contact with a friend or family. Recently, investigations of stimulation in the sensory areas of the brain have provided a proof of concept that the restoration of lost sensation is possible. In our previous work we have implanted an individual with electrodes in sensory and motor areas of the brain and have enabled the participant to both control a robotic prosthetic and feel various sensations such as the sense of touch and the feeling of movement. The aim of this study is to further understand sensations evoked by stimulation of the brain. We seek to evoke a greater range of sensations and reliably elicit a desired sensation under various circumstances. We are looking for individuals with SCI who are interested in participating in this research.
We are currently recruiting individuals to participate in a federally funded, FDA-approved, brain-machine interface clinical trial. Millions of individuals suffer from some form of paralysis. Despite an inability to directly interact with the world, a majority of these paralyzed individuals can still plan or imagine movements. Our clinical trial aims to harness these signals for direct brain control of computers and robotic devices. The study requires surgical implantation of a "brain-chip" to listen to brain activity. Participants then join a dynamic team that strives to better understand the human brain and how technology can improve the lives of paralyzed individuals. Our brain chips have allowed participants in our clinical trial to realize personal goals such as controlling a robotic limb for self-feeding and playing video games. Please contact us if you, or someone you know, are interested in participating in this study.