Researchers Build Non-Invasive Brain-Machine Interface to Control Prosthetic Hand
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Date posted: 02/04/2015
Posted by: Site Administration
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Augmenting Organics

A research team from the University of Houston has created an algorithm that allowed a man to grasp a bottle and other objects with a prosthetic hand, powered only by his brainwaves. The technique, demonstrated with a 56-year-old man whose right hand had been amputated, uses non-invasive brain monitoring, capturing brain activity to determine what parts of the brain are involved in grasping an object. With that information, researchers created a computer program, or brain-machine interface (BMI), that harnessed the subjectís intentions and allowed him to successfully grasp objects, including a water bottle and a credit card. The subject grasped the selected objects 80 percent of the time using a high-tech bionic hand fitted to the amputeeís stump. Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal, a neuroscientist and engineer at UH, said the non-invasive method offers several advantages: It avoids the risks of surgically implanting electrodes by measuring brain activity via scalp electroencephalogram, or EEG. And myoelectric systems arenít an option for all people, because they require that neural activity from muscles relevant to hand grasping remain intact. The results of the study were published March 30 in Frontiers in Neuroscience, in the Neuroprosthetics section.

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