It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
There haven’t been any huge advances in brain computer interfaces (BCIs) since quadriplegic Jan Scheuermann helped herself to a cup of coffee a few years ago using a robotic arm. Today, Science magazine brings us a fantastic new first. Not only did quadriplegic Erik Sorto just drink himself his first beer in twelve years, he demonstrated the ability to control the precise activity of single neurons in his brain with specific thoughts.
With a plan to put a couple 96-spot electrode arrays into Erik’s PPC, and surgeon Charles Liu on hand to do the dirty work, the team set out to find the ideal spot to drop in the hardware. Although the cortex has about 3 ft. square of total area, only a fraction of that is available to cleanly land dueling 4mm x 4mm arrays on its surface. Due to the high bandwidth of these devices — approximately 200 electrodes recording the activity of possibly even more individual neurons putting out spikes that need to be sorted, isolated and time stamped with millisecond accuracy — compact wireless solutions are not yet an option. Until leading manufacturers of these kinds of devices, like Blackrock Microsystems, go wireless, the arrays will still need to be locally connectorized and tethered to the external world.