The Brain Chip

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Have you ever closed your eyes at some point and wished you could make something happen — just by thinking it. Well science isn’t quite there yet, but it’s close.

A technology called BrainGate holds the promise that quadriplegics will be able to do things like surf the Web, write e-mails and play video games just with brainpower. It works with a microchip and electrodes; a tiny device implanted in the brain that transmits intention to a computer cursor.

BrainGate has already been tested on one person, and the Food and Drug Administration has given the company permission to test the technology on four more people. The success of the first trial has given hope to many, but also opens up a number of concerns about how the technology might be misused.


John Donoghue, head of the neuroscience department at Brown University and co-founder of Cyberkinetics

Miguel Nicoleli, professor in Duke University’s neurobiology department.