FOXBOROUGH, Mass.–Dec. 2, 2005
Remember “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman” TV shows in the 1970’s? Those science fiction concepts are just a little closer to reality today.
On a Today Show feature titled “Mind-moving Machines to Help the Disabled.” Katie Couric presented the story of Matthew Nagle, the first participant in Cyberkinetics‘ ongoing clinical trial of its BrainGate( TM ) Neural Interface System. Nagle demonstrated his ability to use his own thoughts to control a computer and command the prosthetic hand on a table beside him to open and close. Mr. Nagle is currently paralyzed from the neck down due to an injury four years ago that severed his spinal cord.
The BrainGate Neural Interface System is a proprietary, investigational brain-computer interface that consists of an internal sensor to detect brain cell activity and external processors that convert these brain signals into a computer-mediated output under the person’s own control. The sensor is a tiny silicon chip about the size of a baby aspirin with one hundred electrodes, each thinner than a human hair, that can detect the electrical activity of neurons. The sensor is implanted on the surface of the area of the brain responsible for movement, the motor cortex. A small wire connects the sensor to a pedestal that is placed on the skull, extending through the scalp. An external cable connects the pedestal to a cart containing computers, signal processors and monitors that enable the study operators to determine how well study participants can control devices driven by their neural output – that is, by thought alone. The ultimate goal of the BrainGate System development program is to create a safe, effective and unobtrusive universal operating system that will enable those with motor impairments resulting from a variety of causes to quickly and reliably control a wide range of devices, including computers, assistive technologies and medical devices, simply by using their thoughts.
If you’ve ever spent time with a quadriplegic you know what a big deal it is to be able to just control a computer and have use of one hand. This system is still in early clinical trials, but if it works out it could dramatically improve the quality of life of many quadriplegics.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “SuperLawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks).