Navigation Links
New Pitt projects will test brain computer interfaces for people with spinal cord injury
Date:2/17/2011

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 17 Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been awarded funding for two projects that will place brain-computer interfaces (BCI) in patients with spinal cord injuries to test if it is possible for them to control external devices, such as a computer cursor or a prosthetic limb, with their thoughts.

The projects build upon ongoing research conducted in epilepsy patients who had the interfaces temporarily placed on their brains and were able to move cursors and play computer games, as well as in monkeys that through interfaces guided a robotic arm to feed themselves marshmallows and turn a doorknob.

"We are now ready to begin testing BCI technology in the patients who might benefit from it the most, namely those who have lost the ability to move their upper limbs due to a spinal cord injury," said Michael L. Boninger, M.D., director, UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pitt School of Medicine, and a senior scientist on both projects. "It's particularly exciting for us to be able to test two types of interfaces within the brain."

"By expanding our research from the laboratory to clinical settings, we hope to gain a better understanding of how to train and motivate patients who will benefit from BCI technology," said Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara, M.D., Ph.D., a UPMC neurosurgeon and assistant professor of neurological surgery and bioengineering, Pitt Schools of Medicine and Engineering, and the lead surgeon on both projects.

In one project, funded by an $800,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, a BCI based on electrocorticography (ECoG) will be placed on the motor cortex surface of a spinal cord injury patient's brain for up to 29 days. The neural activity picked up by the BCI will be translated through a computer processor, allowing the patient to learn to control computer cursors, virtual hands, computer games and assistive devices such as a prosthetic hand or a wheelchair.

The second project, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for up to $6 million over three years, is part of a program led by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md. It will further develop technology tested in monkeys by Andrew Schwartz, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology, Pitt School of Medicine, and also a senior investigator on both projects.

It uses an interface that is a tiny, 10-by-10 array of electrodes that is implanted on the surface of the brain to read activity from individual neurons. Those signals will be processed and relayed to maneuver a sophisticated prosthetic arm.

"Our animal studies have shown that we can interpret the messages the brain sends to make a simple robotic arm reach for an object and turn a mechanical wrist," Dr. Schwartz said. "The next step is to see not only if we can make these techniques work for people, but also if we can make the movements more complex."

In the study, which is expected to begin by late 2011, participants will get two separate electrodes. In future research efforts, the technology may be enhanced with an innovative telemetry system that would allow wireless control of a prosthetic arm, as well as a sensory component.

"Our ultimate aim is to develop technologies that can give patients with physical disabilities control of assistive devices that will help restore their independence," Dr. Boninger said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Stacey Simon
SimonSL@upmc.edu
412-586-9772
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. China Pharma Holdings, Inc. Projects 3rd Quarter 2008 Revenue Growth to Exceed 40%
2. Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $2 Million Grant From EMD Serono to Research Projects on Cognitive Deficits in Parkinsons Disease
3. Two Metabolex Projects Recognized in Windhovers Top 10 Lists for Partnering Opportunities
4. Arpida to Restructure and Focus on Key Projects
5. Air Products and Alter NRG Sign JDA on Renewable Energy Projects
6. Encouraging high-risk research: DFG approves funding for 2 new Reinhart Koselleck projects
7. Cord Blood America Restructures Debt; Projects to be Cash Flow Positive
8. Sinobiopharma Updates on Progress; Projects Increases in Sales and Revenues In 2009
9. Prof. Mario Tredici Shared Views on Algae Projects with Algae Business Players at Algae World!
10. 6 NTU projects awarded NRF grants
11. Hyland Software Provides Grant Assistance to Kick-Start Technology Projects
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... , ... Kablooe Design, a leading provider of product design and development services ... the business. “We have worked hard to build long-term relationships,” says President and CEO, ... honor of serving their product design and development needs through the years.” , Kablooe ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... RIDGE, British Columbia , May 19, 2016 ... AdvanTec Global Innovations Inc. (AGI), based out of ... recently added Greenlane Biogas Ltd. to its existing ... 2-year contract manufacturing agreement. AFS along with its ... Technologies (ABT) is a vertically integrated industrial group ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... -- - I dati saranno presentati nel ... ° Congresso della Società Americana ... - Le conclusioni dello studio indicano un tasso di risposta ... il 90% presenta una d urata della risposta (Duration ... per cento dei pazienti ha riscontrato un beneficio clinico. ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... ... May 18, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software ... report sexual assault kit processing to help them save time and reduce errors. , ... kits to be processed and victims informed of results. Due to a previous lack ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/29/2016)... , March 29, 2016 LegacyXChange, ... LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce ... used in a variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes ... originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will be ... of the DNA. Bill Bollander , ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 22, 2016 According ... Market for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, ... (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market ... reach USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... 22, 2016 Unique technology ... for superior security   Xura, ... of secure digital communications services, today announced it is ... offer enterprise customers, particularly those in the Financial Services ... voice authentication within a mobile app, alongside, and in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):