A team of researchers led by Drs. Leigh Hochberg and John Donoghue at Brown University, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have been developing a brain-computer interface system called BrainGate–a tiny sensor containing 96 hair-thin electrodes that is inserted into the motor cortex (the part of the brain that controls movement). When electrodes sense brain cell activity, the system turns these signals into digital commands for external devices.
While their clinical trials are still ongoing, BrainGate has revealed promising results. One of the participants, a women that was left paralyzed due to a stroke, was asked to reach for a bottle, bring it to her mouth and drink coffee through a straw. She was able to complete 4 out of 6 attempts. As the trial continues, the BrainGate research team will test the technology in more people. They envision a system that would be stable for decades, wireless and fully automated
(Source: National Institutes of Health)