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Abstract: Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are poised to profoundly transform human health by treating devastating – and currently incurable – nervous system injuries and diseases with precise, circuit-level measurements and interventions. BCIs can potentially restore the ability to speak, move, remember and more. However, repairing or replacing patients’ damaged abilities requires a platform for understanding human-specific neural functions and designing, testing, and refining therapies in people. My strategy for accomplishing this is to develop advanced intracortical BCIs to restore speech and reach & grasp movements for people with paralysis. These clinical trials will help individuals with severe speech and motor impairment in the near-term, and in doing so, validate the safety of new human-use devices capable of reading from and writing to thousands of neurons.
This research also provides a unique opportunity to study the workings of the human brain at the unprecedented resolution of hundreds of individual neurons, across multiple brain areas, and over many months. My hope is that understanding the function (and dysfunction) of these neural computations will lead to better BCI therapies to restore patients’ lost abilities.
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