When debilitating spinal cord injuries occur, patients overwhelmingly cite use of their hands as the ability they would value regaining most. To patients suffering from paralysis, regained control over their hands represents the biggest step in returning to self-reliance and independent living.
In a recent application of ABM’s B-Alert wireless EEG systems, researchers at University of Miami developed a novel and practical system that integrates neurofeedback with functional electrical stimulation (FES) for restoring damaged brain-to-hand neural pathways. Working with spinal cord injury subjects at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, they embedded an adaptive BCI within a user-friendly interface. Patients can now train to regain use of their hands with a real-time reward system unlike any other.
The neurorehabilitative platform utilizes EEG signatures to recognize patients’ movement intent, as well as error-related signals, and opens/closes their paralyzed hands via FES. The system decodes their neural signatures to produce grasping and opening movements, providing patients with the real-time reward of seeing their hands move. This reinforces the restructuring of neural pathways, and EEG maps constructed at each stage in the process present objective metrics of the improvements due to neuroplasticity. As their learning progresses, the EEG recognition algorithms adapt accordingly to become more specific and to advance the rehabilitation further.
The team at University of Miami is working hard to help patients return to a self-sufficient lifestyle, and the X-Series’ unique pairing of medical-grade signals and mobile ease-of-use have enabled a novel BCI system with real-world implications.