A multi-electrode multiplexed channel brain-computer interface for patient assistive technologies
According to the WHO, in 2019 neurological disorders were recognized as a growing public health challenge resulting in over 500,000 deaths globally. In the US alone, neurological diseases cause an estimated $800 billion-dollar economic burden. There is a desperate need for new treatments to improve patients’ quality of life. Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) offer a multitude of potential improvements in various patient populations’ lives. One such improvement is for patients with a loss of function to regain mobility. Further, other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease could be alleviated by BCI through direct stimulation of nerves bypassing diseased states. Additionally, BCI can potentially improve diagnostic measures by giving patients who are otherwise incapable of communicating a way to interact with their providers, allowing them to gain a more detailed understanding of their experience. However, the potential of BCI is diminished by the capacity of the network to communicate with the vast number of sensors necessary. Current hurdles for adoption of this technology revolve around the scalability of it for practical applications, primarily in the signal-to-noise ratio seen in the number of sensors needed to cover the necessary spatial area. There is a need for technology that improves the ability to convert brain activity measured by electrodes into usable signals for brain-computer interfaces, whether for diagnostic or other purposes.
Duke inventors have developed a brain electrode array for BCI technologies. This is intended to be used for BCI for applications such as assistive devices for paralyzed individuals and can be applied to other BCI technologies. Specifically, the inventors created a multiplexed electrode array, which expands the number of electrode channels that can be recorded.This has been demonstrated through simulation of 384 simultaneously addressable electrodes, which represents an improvement on previous numbers. This increase in simultaneously addressable electrodes in the array coupled with sufficient signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) is significant as increased channels improve BCI performance. This was proven to be effective while also using 5-10 times less power than other previously published options. Future work involves testing the device in vivo and in vitro and scaling to thousands of channels.
This technology could also be applied to other BCI technologies, such as Electrocorticography (ECoG) and intracortical electrode arrays, as well as, implanted medical sensing devices.
- This BCI utilizes 5-10 times less power than similar options.
- This technology has a small area which improves resolution.
- This device has the potential for significantly more electrode channels than comparable devices.
- Improvements with this BCI allow for more complex technologies to be adapted.