chapter  21
26 Pages

Recent Advances Toward Development of Practical Brain–Machine Interfaces

ByDavid J. Krupa

Recently, experimental results from several laboratories have demonstrated the feasibility of controlling electromechanical devices such as computer cursors or robotic arms in real time with signals derived directly from motor cortical areas in awake behaving animals (1-4). These results, along with numerous other recent technological advances, have generated renewed interest in the ongoing development of practical brain-machine interfaces (BMI) that could be used to restore lost functionality in patients suffering from paralysis or other severe neurological disorders (5-10). Although these recent experimental results are very promising, many significant problems remain to be solved before fully functional BMIs could be routinely used in humans as a therapeutic cure for disabilities such as paralysis. The present chapter will discuss various properties of a BMI, review recent advances in this developing technology, and examine problems remaining to be solved before such devices might progress from experimental prototypes to realistic solutions.