Neuroscience is of interest to everyone, but very few people pay attention or really understand what is going on behind the scenes. Research is often able to assist us and enhance our lives, or it may assist someone we love.
This is seen in a small chip that was developed by neuroscientists. The chip is inserted into the brain of a patient and their thoughts can then be translated into actions.
Blackrock Neurotech, a Salt Lake City company has been active in this technology. Although the science is somewhat new, 36 patients have already received the implanted chips. Those patients have a variety of disorders.
The different devices, which are called arrays, can treat many different issues. According to the company’s website, brain injury, epilepsy, paralysis, and even hearing loss have been considered for this type of treatment.
According to a video shared by Blackrock Neurotech, four Utah Arrays were implanted in 2014 into Nathan Copeland. He was in a car crash 10 years prior, and his spinal cord was injured.
They put two of the arrays in the area of the brain that processes sensory information. The other two arrays were put into an area that is responsible for motor function.
Since Copeland is one of the first to enjoy this technology, he really has been pioneering it in many ways. At first, they thought that the implants would have a lifespan of about five years but he still has his intact and operational.
The electrodes make it possible for him to play video games and use a computer. He also has a robotic arm that he can move by just thinking about it.
He spoke about the limitations associated with having a severe accident such as his. It limits how he interacts with his environment, so he considers this opportunity to be “very cool and very rewarding.”
Copeland is not only the face of this technology, he also proved it in 2016 when he shared a fist bump with Pres. Barack Obama. He was on a tour of the White House at the time, and the fist bump made the news.
The company also received a Breakthrough Device Designation by the FDA in 2021. It provided the ability to expedite the review process of the technology to the MoveAgain Brain Computer Interface (BCI) System.
That system, which may be able to assist people control everything from a keyboard and computer mouse to a wheelchair and prosthetic device using thought alone could help many thousands in ways formally not possible.