Intracortical Microstimulation as a Feedback Source for Brain-Computer Interface Users
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Dexterous object manipulation requires cutaneous sensory feedback, and in its absence, even simple grasping tasks appear clumsy and slow. In prosthetic limbs controlled through intracortical brain-computer interfaces (iBCIs), restoring this somatosensory feedback could be an important step to improving function as vision provides only impoverished cues during object interactions. Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) of primary somatosensory cortex (S1) is a potential method to restore this sensory feedback, particularly in people who cannot benefit from stimulation of the peripheral nervous system. Here, we demonstrate the ability of ICMS delivered to S1 to produce somatotopically relevant, cutaneous percepts on individual fingers with graded intensity. This demonstrates the capabilities of ICMS for providing cutaneous feedback to iBCI users.
This study was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (Arlington, VA, USA) Revolutionizing Prosthetics program (contract number N66001-10-C-4056) and Office of Research and Development, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs (Washington DC, USA, grant numbers B6789C, B7143R, and RX720). S.N.F. was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No DGE-1247842.
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