To help develop a fascinating new prosthetic device, Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen is providing $1.5 million to a team of University of Washington researchers including specialists in neuroengineering and computer science. The team is developing a brain-computer-spine interface that’s intended to restore hand and arm function in people who have suffered spinal cord injuries. It’s basically an implantable computer, the size of a pacemaker, that will relay signals from the brain into the spinal cord.
The project is led by Chet Moritz, professor of Rehabilitation Medicine. Other faculty participants are Adrienne Fairhall, professor of Physiology & Biophysics, and Josh Smith, professor of Computer Science & Engineering and of Electrical Engineering. All three are associated with UW’s National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering.