Over the past 10-15 years, there has been a convergence of neuroscience, engineering and the increasing availability of fast and inexpensive computer processing, which has led to the emergence of the field of motor neuroprosthetics as a practical reality for people with severe motor disability. A motor neuroprosthetic device, also known as a Brain Computer Interface, or BCI, is a device that can monitor and decode the electrical language of the user's thoughts and convert that information into some type of overt machine control (e.g., controlling a cursor on a screen or moving a robotic arm). Recent experiments over the past 5 years have produced impressive demonstrations in animal and human subjects in which overt computer control has been accomplished with brain signals alone. This type of technology holds immense promise for people with such diseases as spinal cord injury, stroke and neuromuscular disorders. It may allow disabled individuals to more substantially and meaningfully communicate and interact with their environments.
PodcastEric Leuthardt, MD, director of the Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology, is interviewed on the “Evolution of Brain Computer Interfaces” for a podcast produced by the journal Neurosurgical Focus.
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