Two Australian men with neuromuscular disorders regained some personal independence after researchers implanted stent-like electrodes in their brains, allowing them to operate computers using their thoughts.
This is the first time such a device, dubbed a “stentrode,” has been implanted in humans, according to its inventors. The system also makes real-world use of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs)—devices that enable direct communication between the brain and a computer—more feasible.
The feat was described today in the Journal of Neurointerventional Surgery. “This paper represents the first fully implantable, commercial BCI system that patients can take home and use,” says Tom Oxley, founder of Melbourne-based Synchron, which developed the device.