Study in a Sentence: With a mini-electrocorticography grid implanted in patients’ brains, researchers mapped the area of the brain that corresponds to sensation in the hand and demonstrated the utility of a novel sensory brain computer interface (BCI) in humans.
Healthy for Humans: Restoring loss of limb function, including sensation, is an important challenge for patients following spinal cord injuries, stroke, or limb amputation. The BCI systems have made progress in sensory restoration, but the ideal delivery of these systems remains to be determined.
Redefining Research: Previous work developing sensory BCI has relied on non-human primates, lacking a critical step for establishing clinical utility where verbal descriptions of sensory input are provided by subjects. To overcome these limitations, researchers turned to patients with surgical implantation already planned for a separate clinical use to implant the mini-electrocorticography grid. Then, the area of the brain corresponding to sensation in the hand was systematically stimulated and the location and description of each sensation were provided by the patient, successfully demonstrating the utility of this novel sensory BCI.