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CSNE researchers examine flexible neural recording fibers that can be used in implantable devices for restoring motor function in stroke and spinal cord injury patients. Photo courtesy of the University of Washington.
CSNE researchers examine flexible neural recording fibers that can be used in implantable devices for restoring motor function in stroke and spinal cord injury patients. Photo courtesy of the University of Washington.

University of Washington researchers won a four-year, $16 million grant from the National Science Foundation this week to continue developing implantable devices that can help spinal cord injury or stroke sufferers regain mobility.

The Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), a UW-led effort that includes researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, San Diego State University and other partners, is working on devices that can send signals between regions of the brain or nervous system and help reanimate paralyzed limbs for people who have progressive or traumatic neurological conditions.

Here’s how UW News describes the devices:

The devices record and decode electrical signals generated by the brain when a person forms an intention, for example, to move a hand to pick up a cup. The devices are also able to wirelessly transmit that information, essentially creating a new artificial pathway around damaged areas of the brain or nervous system.

Researchers from CSNE, which was founded in 2011 with a $18.5 million grant from NSF, hope to test the devices in humans within five years. The new funding from NSF will also help CSNE expand its outreach programs.

“This funding renewal for CSNE will allow us to advance the frontiers in closed-loop neural interfaces,” CSNE deputy director Chet Moritz said in a statement. “We have a fantastic team of engineers and neuroscientists working closely together, and continued NSF support is critical to achieving these ambitious goals.”

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