Timothy Buschman: Adaptive cognitive prosthetic

Nov. 10, 2016

Invention Adaptive Cognitive Prosthetic

Inventor Timothy Buschman, assistant professor of psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute

What it does The adaptive cognitive prosthetic is a device that, when implanted in the brain, helps recover cognitive function in patients with a stroke or traumatic brain injury. The goal is to restore or replace a damaged brain region.

When a region of the brain ceases to function, the adaptive cognitive prosthetic will enable signals in the brain to bypass the damaged region to restore functionality. The device first records the activity of hundreds of neurons that normally feed instructions to the damaged region. The adaptive cognitive  prosthetic then uses these readings and a novel learning algorithm to calculate instructions that can replace those that would have traveled through the diseased region. The device delivers those instructions to the appropriate region of the brain.

Such a device could help victims of stroke, trauma or other brain injury. Stroke often involves the destruction of cells that are needed to transmit signals from one part of the brain to another. For example, the parietal cortex passes visual signals to various areas of the brain that allow us to interpret what we see.

Damage to the parietal cortex can cause blindness in one half of the individual’s normal field of view. To restore sight, the adaptive cognitive prosthetic would identify the missing signals, compute substitute instructions and deliver them to other, intact regions.

Contributors Sina Tafazoli, postdoctoral research associate in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute; Cynthia Steinhardt, Class of 2016; and Katherine Letai, Class of 2017.

Development status Patent protection is pending. Princeton is seeking outside interest for further development of this technology.

Funding source National Institutes of Health

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