BrainGate: Intracortical Neural Interface System for Persons With Tetraplegia

fesjournal034 (002)Background

The BrainGate research team includes leading neurologists, neuroscientists, engineers, computer scientists, neurosurgeons, mathematicians, and other researchers who are focused on developing technologies to restore the communication, mobility, and independence of people with neurological disease, injury, or limb loss. This diverse and collaborative team creates and tests devices that are ushering in a new era of transformative neurotechnologies. Using a baby aspirin-sized array of electrodes implanted into the brain, early research from the BrainGate team has shown that the neural signals associated with the intent to move a limb can be “decoded” by a computer in real-time and used to operate external devices. This investigational system has allowed people with spinal cord injury, brainstem stroke, and ALS to control a computer cursor simply by thinking about the movement of their own paralyzed hand.

The purpose of this study is to obtain preliminary device safety information and demonstrate feasibility of efficacy of the ability of individuals with tetraplegia to control a computer cursor and other assistive devices with their thoughts through the use of the BrainGate system.


About This Study

Objective/Specific Aims: The goal of the BrainGate research and development project is to identify the core methods and features for a medical device that could allow people with paralysis to recover a multitude of abilities that normally rely on the hands. The specific aims of this study are to determine the safety of the BrainGate Neural Interface System, and to investigate the feasibility of BrainGate and establish the parameters for a larger clinical study in the future. The Cleveland clinical site of this study uses the BrainGate Neural Interface System to control muscle activation via FES for individuals with high tetraplegia, to demonstrate the feasibility of using the system to provide functional arm and hand movements.

Study Information: This study entails the placement of the BrainGate sensor(s) into the motor-related cortex of the participant, followed by a one-year evaluation period after the implantation of the device. At the Cleveland clinical site of this study, stimulating electrodes are implanted in the muscles of the shoulder, arm, and hand.

Detailed program information and criteria available at:

Principal Investigators: A. Bolu Ajiboye, PhD; Robert Kirsch, PhD
Program Contact: Bill Memberg
Contact Number: (216) 957-3606
Contact Email:


In the News

The BrainGate program has received international news interest following the release of an article in The Lancet. A selection of articles is identified on the FES Center homepage.

The press release announcing the medical journal article can be found at

I AM HUMAN, directed, written, and produced by Taryn Southern, Elena Gaby. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Advancements in neurotechnology are revolutionizing what it means to be human. Following three subjects who undergo brain interface treatment, I AM HUMAN examines the ethical quandaries in brain exploration and simulated cognitive evolution.
After the Premiere Screening:a conversation with co-directors and producers Taryn Southern and Elena Gaby, neurotech entrepreneur Bryan Johnson, Toronto Western Hospital neurosurgeon Dr. Andres Lozano, Duke University Professor of Law and Philosophy Nita Farahany, and Case Western Reserve University biomedical engineering professor A. Bolu Ajiboye. Moderated by the CEO of Futurism Alex Klokus.
Tribeca Film Festival