The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has secured $800,000 in grants to develop with Battelle the NeuroLife interface technology for home use. This technology would allow people with spinal cord injuries to regain immediate hand movements as well as connect to the “internet of things” that they might want to control in their home.

One grant, from the Ohio Third Frontier, will advance Battelle’s NeuroLife functional electrical stimulation system, a wearable, form-fitting neural interface garment designed to reanimate the muscles of the forearm to improve hand function in people living with spinal cord injuries. By adding a universal neural interface, the system will allow participants to control hand grip and other movements via control signals, such as a smart phone, tablet, sip-and-puff or button switch.

Research Adds to Medical Breakthroughs

This research furthers the medical breakthrough first pioneered by the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and Battelle in 2014 when a paralyzed man was able to use his thoughts and this neural interface technology to move his fingers for the first time in a lab on the university campus, a media release from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle explains.

“We’ll pursue research that translates our advances to daily use so that we can create the biggest impact for people. The goal is to create real, consumer-grade devices—not just lab demos—so that individuals living with spinal cord injuries can benefit and live a better quality of life.”

— Dr. Marcie Bockbrader, a physician researcher at the Wexner Medical Center who will serve as the principal investigator for both studies and who has been closely involved with NeuroLife since its inception

Transform NeuroLife for Home Use

The second grant will transform Battelle’s NeuroLife brain-computer interface laboratory system into a system that is easy to use at home. Supported by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Battelle will miniaturize its stimulation hub and algorithms, and adapt its system for mobile use in conjunction with Blackrock Microsystems’ portable version of its human brain interface system.

“We envision people using their brain to directly control any computer or device in their homes with this technology.

“It’s not some far-off dream of the future; we’re actually building the infrastructure to do it today, and we’re using it to help a person who is living with paralysis.”

— Justin Sanchez, tech fellow at Battelle and formerly director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office

[Source(s): The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Battelle; Business Wire]

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