CerePlex W- A Miniature Wireless Interface To Control Devices By Thoughts

CerePlex W- A Miniature Wireless Interface To Control Devices By Thoughts-1


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The CerePlex W is a box that acts as a neural control interface, capable of transmitting the mental commands of a person through a wireless connection at the speed of a home Internet connection. This breakthrough could enable people with disabilities to control daily use objects by by thoughts.

In May 2012, Cathy Hutchinson, a quadriplegic person who could no longer speak following an attack, was able to drink coffee by commanding a robotic arm just by thinking about it. It used a sensor, named as BrainGate, which is placed directly on the motor cortex of the brain. It is used to sense the electrical activity produced by the neurons when Cathy thought about a specific action. This sensor was then in turn connected to an outer casing placed on the skull of the patient. Everything was connected by cables to a computer.

Indeed, an Admirable technical achievement but a complex implementation. But much has changed since … For now, this system can work without wires through a wireless link. This means that the control interface would one day be easily used by the people with disabilities.

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CerePlex W- A Miniature Wireless Interface To Control Devices By Thoughts-

This innovation is the result of collaboration between the consortium BrainGate (which brings together the Department of Neuroscience at Brown University (USA) and one of its spin-off called Cyberkinetics) and the company Blackrock Microsystems. Latter has converted the wired to the wireless system. Upon receiving the electrical signals emitted by the neurons, the CerePlex W amplifies and converts the data into digital format to be transmitted by the wireless link to a receiver. The information can then be passed on to control devices: like a prosthesis, a motorized wheelchair or the cursor on the computer screen.The speed of the wireless connection is 48 Mbit/s, which is equivalent to the bitrate of a home internet connection .

According to its designers, the CerePlex W is capable of transmitting the equivalent data volume of 200 data DVDs in one day. A speed far from being able to translate the speed of the human brain. But already this is is a groundbreaking achievement. Blackrock company has started marketing this wireless box. It costs about $ 15,000. Tests with human candidates could begin this year in the US, if the Food and Drug Administration authority approves it.

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