Restoring the Sense of Touch Using a Sensorimotor Demultiplexing Neural Interface
Teams: Battelle, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Writers: Patrick D. Ganzer, Samuel C. Colachis 4th, Michael A. Schwemmer, Doug J. Weber, Marcia A. Bockbrader, Gaurav Sharma
PubDate: May 14, 2020
Paralyzed muscles can be reanimated following spinal cord injury (SCI) using a brain-computer interface (BCI) to enhance motor function alone. Importantly, the sense of touch is a key component of motor function. Here, we demonstrate that a human participant with a clinically complete SCI can use a BCI to simultaneously reanimate both motor function and the sense of touch, leveraging residual touch signaling from his own hand. In the primary motor cortex (M1), residual subperceptual hand touch signals are simultaneously demultiplexed from ongoing efferent motor intention, enabling intracortically controlled closed-loop sensory feedback. Using the closedloop demultiplexing BCI almost fully restored the ability to detect object touch and significantly improved several sensorimotor functions. Afferent grip-intensity levels are also decoded from M1, enabling grip reanimation regulated by touch signaling. These results demonstrate that subperceptual neural signals can be decoded from the cortex and transformed into conscious perception, significantly augmenting function.