29 Apr '12, 12am

Algorithms Replace Spinal Cord In New Approach to Neural Prosthetics

Over years of eavesdropping on the brain with with electrodes, neuroscientists and engineers have decoded the neural patterns of intention in both humans and monkeys. Since then, most labs have plugged these diverted signals into robotic arms , proving that they can use the brain to remotely control sophisticated machinery while undoubtedly giving tremendous hope to people with severed limbs. Until now, this research has largely ignored patients with spinal cord injury whose limbs are still there, but which no longer work because they no longer receive stimulation. Lee Miller, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University is working on an elegant solution specifically designed for this population. Rather than feeding recorded brain activity into a prosthetic limb, Miller has shown that he can loop around a dysfunctional spinal cord and plug back into a paralyzed arm, reanima...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/bionics/alg...

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