May 11th, 2011

Dr. Donoghue will discuss progress being made to develop devices that can restore lost functions of the nervous system following disease or injury. In particular, he will discuss the development of the BrainGate neural interface system, a form of brain computer interface (BCI) that is designed to restore independence and control for people with paralysis. BrainGate uses a tiny sensor implanted in the brain that detects motor intentions that are converted to movement command signals using signal processors outside the body. BrainGate, now in a pilot human clinical trial, has been tested in five people who have longstanding, severe paralysis. It will be shown how people have been able to use their own brain signals to directly control a range of devices, such as computers and robotic arms. Dr. Donoghue will explain how it is possible to detect and decode motor signals from the brain and discuss the future implications of technology that can read out or write into brain circuitry. Finally, he will also discuss what we are learning by being able to study human brain activity at a resolution and form never before available.

John Donoghue is director of the Institute for Brain Science and a professor of neuroscience and a professor of engineering at Brown University.

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