The University of Washington’s Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), has been conducting ground breaking research with the goal of connecting the brain with computer devices for patients with neurological damage.
Human research has already led to the development of a device that is implanted in the brain and, using progressive neurological disorder that causes a part of the body to shake uncontrollably, mainly in the hands. Often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s the causes are not known and currently there are no cures. The device is manufactured by Medtronic, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, and is one of the world’s largest medical equipment development companies. To date, four patients have received the device implant as part of the clinical trial which will go through the end of 2018.
CSNE was established in 2011 with a 10-year, $40 million federal grant from the National Science Foundation. 50 faculty members from three institutions, the University of Washington, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and San Diego State University are part of the program. In addition to the institutions, the Foundation works together with 31 industry partners.
Another area of study at the Center is to create new companies that use the newly discovered technologies to develop actual prototypes. Embotic Technology, created by UW graduate Zhe Xu, has developed a robotic hand that imitates an actual human hand. This new robotic hand can be used in humanoid robotics, advanced prosthetic or in rescue and military scenarios.