Healthy Life: Mind Over Machine


By Ashley Hinson

As Seen on the KCRG TV-9 Early Morning News July 31, 2012:

HISTORY OF “BRAINGATE™”: In the late 90s, Dr. Donald Humphrey of Emory University invented a method for brain-computer interfaces, which became the basis for a patent. Shortly after, a Brown University spin-off called Cyberkinetics™ was formed to turn a collection of lab tests into a regulatory approved set of clinical trials for the first-generation neural interface system: the result was the BrainGate™ Neural Interface System. Based on intellectual property from Emory, Brown, The University of Utah, Columbia, and MIT—as well as Cyberkinetics own patent portfolio—Cyberkinetics created a brain-implantable sensor on a Bionic® computer chip smaller than the size of a penny to monitor brain activity in patients and convert the intention of the user into commands. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Cyberkinetics the first of two Investigational Device Exemptions (IDEs) to perform the research. In the summer of 2009, BrainGate, Co. acquired the rights and assets for the BrainGate™ technology and intellectual property from Cyberkinetics™. Now, they have the long-term goal of creating a brain implant that allows people to use their thoughts to control electrical devices and they hope these technologies will become a powerful means to restore communication, mobility, and independence to people in need. (Source: BrainGate)

HOW IT WORKS: Tiny chips are implanted in the brain. Those electrodes then tap into electrical signals from brain cells that command movement. They are able to bypass a broken spinal cord and relay the messages to the robotic third arm. (Source: BrainGate)
DARPA ARM: The robotic ARM (Autonomous Robotic Manipulation) was developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which developed the humanlike arm in a $100 million project for DARPA, the Pentagon's research agency. It was designed to be closer to a natural arm than any existing prosthetic device in its appearance, ability and connection to the body. It has 22 degrees of motion, including four fingers that move independently, a thumb that pivots on a ball joint — a first for the prosthetics industry — as well as a powered shoulder, elbow and wrist. It weighs about nine pounds, around the weight of a natural limb.
(Source: USA Today, Healio)

EXPERIMENT UPDATE: The ARM program is developing software to perform human-level tasks quickly with minimal direction. During rigorous testing in November 2011, the best team achieved 93% success in grasping modeled and unmodeled objects. The ARM program has entered its second phase, where focus turns to complex bimanual manipulation scenarios. (Source: DARPA)

 For More Information, Contact:
Anita Srikamav
University of Pittsburg School of Medicine

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