Article | Published:

Neuronal ensemble control of prosthetic devices by a human with tetraplegia

Nature volume 442, pages 164171 (13 July 2006) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Neuromotor prostheses (NMPs) aim to replace or restore lost motor functions in paralysed humans by routeing movement-related signals from the brain, around damaged parts of the nervous system, to external effectors. To translate preclinical results from intact animals to a clinically useful NMP, movement signals must persist in cortex after spinal cord injury and be engaged by movement intent when sensory inputs and limb movement are long absent. Furthermore, NMPs would require that intention-driven neuronal activity be converted into a control signal that enables useful tasks. Here we show initial results for a tetraplegic human (MN) using a pilot NMP. Neuronal ensemble activity recorded through a 96-microelectrode array implanted in primary motor cortex demonstrated that intended hand motion modulates cortical spiking patterns three years after spinal cord injury. Decoders were created, providing a ‘neural cursor’ with which MN opened simulated e-mail and operated devices such as a television, even while conversing. Furthermore, MN used neural control to open and close a prosthetic hand, and perform rudimentary actions with a multi-jointed robotic arm. These early results suggest that NMPs based upon intracortical neuronal ensemble spiking activity could provide a valuable new neurotechnology to restore independence for humans with paralysis.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank J. Joseph and D. Morris for assistance; L. Mermel for clinical planning advice; V. Zerris and M. Park for surgical assistance; G. Polykoff for clinical trial assistance; W. Truccolo for power spectral density analysis development; and the employees of Cyberkinetics for device engineering, manufacturing and clinical trial design and management. The authors also thank MN for his participation in this trial, and the nursing staff at his assisted care facility for their assistance. The authors are grateful to M. Serra and Sargent Rehabilitation Center, the study site, for administrative support. The photograph of MN (Fig. 1) is copyright 2005 Rick Friedman. This work was supported by Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, Inc.

Author information

Author notes

    • Maryam Saleh

    †Present address: Graduate Program in Computational Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA

Affiliations

  1. Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA

    • Leigh R. Hochberg
  2. Department of Neuroscience and Brain Science Program, and

    • Leigh R. Hochberg
    • , Mijail D. Serruya
    •  & John P. Donoghue
  3. Department of Engineering, Brown University, PO Box 1953, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA

    • Mijail D. Serruya
  4. Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, 830 Chalkstone Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island 02908, USA

    • Leigh R. Hochberg
  5. Department of Clinical Neurosciences (Neurosurgery), Brown University, and

    • Gerhard M. Friehs
  6. Department of Neurosurgery, Rhode Island Hospital, 120 Dudley Street, Suite 103, Providence, Rhode Island 02905, USA

    • Gerhard M. Friehs
  7. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Brown University, 593 Eddy Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, USA

    • Jon A. Mukand
  8. Sargent Rehabilitation Center, 800 Quaker Lane, Warwick, Rhode Island 02818, USA

    • Jon A. Mukand
  9. Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, Inc., 100 Foxborough Boulevard–Suite 240, Foxborough, Massachusetts 02035, USA

    • Maryam Saleh
    • , Abraham H. Caplan
    •  & John P. Donoghue
  10. Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, Inc., 391 Chipeta Way, Suite G, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA

    • Almut Branner
  11. Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 345 E. Superior Street, 1146, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA

    • David Chen
  12. Department of Neurosurgery, University of Chicago Hospitals, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC3026, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA

    • Richard D. Penn

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Competing interests

L.R.H.: Clinical trial support, Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems (CKI); G.M.F.: stock holdings, consultant, CKI; J.A.M.: principal investigator, consultant, CKI; M.D.S.: salary, consultant, stock holdings, CKI; M.S.: salary, stock options, CKI; A.H.C.: salary, stock options, stock holdings, CKI; A.B.: salary, stock options, CKI; D.C.: clinical trial support, CKI; R.D.P.: clinical trial support, CKI; J.P.D.: Chief Scientific Officer, compensation, stock holdings, director, CKI.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to John P. Donoghue.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Notes

    This file contains Supplementary Figures 1 and 2 and legends, Supplementary Methods and Results, Supplementary Discussion, Supplementary Video Legends and Supplementary References. The two figures illustrate neuronal selectivity for imagined and performed movements, and center-out task performance with an alternate post-hoc control. Also reported is additional information regarding signal quality and variety; MI activity during neural cursor control; center-out task; grid task; summary of neurophysiologic findings; comparison with previous work; video legends.

Videos

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Video 1

    Center-Out task.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Video 2

    Video showing use of a computer interface with the neural cursor.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Video 3

    Neurally-controlled television.

  4. 4.

    Supplementary Video 4

    Neural "Pong".

  5. 5.

    Supplementary Video 5

    Neural "HeMan" game.

  6. 6.

    Supplementary Video 6

    Direct neural control of a prosthetic hand. MN was initially instructed to move a neural cursor "up" to open the hand, and "down" to close the hand.

  7. 7.

    Supplementary Video 7

    Transport of an object from one location to another via direct neural control of a multi-articulated robot arm.

  8. 8.

    Supplementary Video 8

    Trial Participant #2 performing Center-Out task.

About this article

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04970

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