Battelle showing NeuroLife tech to translate brain waves into physical movements at HIMSS17
ORLANDO — Count Battelle’s NeuroLife among the awe-inducing technologies at HIMSS17.
NeuroLife, being developed in conjunction with Ohio State University, can create an artificial pathway that bypasses the severed connection between a patient’s brain region responsible for movements and the in-tact muscles to essentially reanimate a paralyzed limb.
That particular patient is Ian Burkhart, who has an implanted microelectrode chip created by Black Rock in his brain and has been coming in to use NeuroLife three times a week for about three years.
“We take the signals from that and process them via machine learning algorithms and translate those brain signals into intended movements,” said Michael Schwemmer, a research statistician in Battelle’s advanced analytics group. “This is all very much showing what’s possible.”
A bit about exactly what it takes: The Black Rock chip samples brain electrical activity in a .15 x .15-inch region of Burkhart’s primary motor cortex at 30,000 per second across 96 channels to a total of 2.88 million data points per second. And that data has to recorded, processed, filtered and then used to drive electrical stimulation in less than 100 milliseconds or Burkhart won’t feel that he’s in control of the system.
“You can use all this data from an individual patient to tailor a model that actually allows him to re-animate his own hand,” Schwemmer said. “It’s opening the door on what types of things we can do to help people with paralysis regain some movement.”
While NeuroLife as it exists today contains a finite number of movements that are pre-determined by the algorithms Battelle and OSU currently have, Schwemmer said they are working to increase the overall range of possible movements.
“We are actively recruiting more participants, we are constantly trying to improve aspects of the system, from making the steps faster and more accurate to shrinking down the components to become more size-appropriate so participants can take them home,” he said.
“All of this has to be done really quickly. We record the data, process and filter it, then use it to drive electrical stimulation in less than 100 milliseconds,” Schwemmer said. “If it takes too long the movements don’t appear natural and the participant wont feel like he’s in control of the system.”
Batelle is in Booth 6777.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.