Brain-to-Machine Interface May Offer a Way Forward for Neurological Control of a Prosthetic Limb

Published date : 19 December 2012
Article date : 19 December 2012

The Lancet features an interesting report about how brain-to-machine interfaces could provide the way forward for restoring lost functions for an individual with tetraplegia. This type of interface, they suggest, could quickly achieve neurological control of a high-performance prosthetic limb.

During a clinical test, two intracortical microelectrodes were implanted in the motor cortex of a 52 year old individual with tetraplegia. Brain-machine-interface training followed over a 13 week period with the aim of controlling a prosthetic limb with seven degrees of freedom. Their ability to control the limb was assessed with clinical measures of upper limb function. 

After 13 weeks, seven-dimensional movements were performed routinely. The mean success rate on target-based reaching tasks was 91·6%; improvements were seen in completion time and path efficiency increased. The participant was also able to use the prosthetic limb to do skilful and coordinated reach and grasp movements that resulted in clinically significant gains in tests of upper limb function. No adverse events were reported.
They say that with continued development of neuroprosthetic limbs, individuals with long-term paralysis could recover their natural and intuitive command signals for hand placement, orientation and reaching thereby allowing them to increase their independence by being able to perform activities of daily living.
Source: The Lancet, 17 December 2012.
Read the article here.
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