The mind-to-movement system that allows a quadriplegic man to control a computer using only his thoughts is a scientific milestone. It was reached, in large part, through the brain gate system. This system has become a boon to the paralyzed. The BrainGate System is based on Cyber kinetics platform technology to sense, transmit, and analyze and apply the language of neurons. The principle of operation behind the BrainGate System is that with intact brain function, brain signals are generated even though they are not sent to the arms, hands and legs. The signals are interpreted and translated into cursor movements, offering the user an alternate Brain Gate pathway to control a computer with thought, just as individuals who have the ability to move their hands use a mouse. The 'Brain Gate' contains tiny spikes that will extend down about one millimeter into the brain after being implanted beneath the skull, monitoring the activity from a small group of neurons. It will now be possible for a patient with spinal cord injury to produce brain signals that relay the intention of moving the paralyzed limbs, as signals to an implanted sensor, which is then output as electronic impulses.
These impulses enable the user to operate mechanical devices with the help of a computer cursor. MatthewNagle, 25-year old Massachusetts man with a severe spinal cord injury, has been paralyzed from the neck down since 2001.After taking part in a clinical trial of this system; he has opened e-mail, switched TV channels, turned on lights. He even moved a robotic hand from his wheelchair. This marks the first time that neural movement signals have been recorded and decoded in a human with spinal cord injury. The system is also the first to allow a human to control his surrounding environment using his mind.