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MIT research helps convert brain signals into action
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Written by Daniel   
Thursday, 04 October 2007 11:05

MIT research helps convert brain signals into action
MIT News
October 2, 2007

MIT researchers have developed a new algorithm to help create prosthetic devices that convert brain signals into action in patients who have been paralyzed or had limbs amputated.
The technique, described in a paper published as the cover article in the October edition of the Journal of Neurophysiology, unifies seemingly disparate approaches taken by experimental groups that prototype these neural prosthetic devices in animals or humans.

 



"The work represents an important advance in our understanding of how to construct algorithms in neural prosthetic devices for people who cannot move to act or speak," said Lakshminarayan "Ram" Srinivasan (S.M., Ph.D. 2006), lead author of the paper.

Srinivasan, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Nervous System Repair at Massachusetts General Hospital and a medical student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), began working on the algorithm while a graduate student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).

Trauma and disease can lead to paralysis or amputation, reducing the ability to move or talk despite the capacity to think and form intentions. In spinal cord injuries, strokes, and diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), the neurons that carry commands from the brain to muscle can be injured. In amputation, both nerves and muscle are lost.
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