Magazine article ASEE Prism

Head Games

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Head Games

Article excerpt

RESEARCHERS in St. Louis are having epilepsy patients play mind games, and the results may one day enable wearers of prosthetic devices to move their artificial limbs using only thoughts. The team, led by Washington University researchers, worked with an electronic grid that rests atop the brain and records electrocorticographic (ECoG) activity, or brain surface signals. That's an advance beyond using non-invasive electrodes outside the skull to measure what's called electroenccphalographic (EEG) activity. Four patients had the grids implanted for up to two weeks so neurologists could pinpoint what part of their brains were inducing seizures. But the Washington team also hooked the grids to one-dimensional computer games, and in less than an hour, the patients learned to move the game cursor using only thoughts, achieving between 74 and 100 percent accuracy. …

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