Tyler Singer-Clark

UC Davis

“Brain-computer interface cursor control driven by speech motor cortex”

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) offer the potential to restore communication capabilities for people with paralysis due to neurological disease or injury such as ALS or stroke. For example, a BCI user may be able to attempt directional movements (left, right, up, down) to move a computer cursor, or attempt speech movements to make words appear on a screen. Typically, cursor BCIs are driven by neural activity in hand motor areas, whereas speech BCIs are driven by electrodes in speech- and orofacial-related motor areas. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time cursor and click control driven by neural activity in speech motor areas. This cursor BCI was used by participant T15, a 45-year old man with ALS enrolled in the BrainGate2 clinical trial. This result suggests that BCI users may be able to have electrode arrays placed in speech motor cortex in order to operate both a cursor BCI and a speech BCI, instead of having to split arrays between hand and speech motor areas.


Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) can restore capabilities to people with paralysis by reading their brain activity, figuring out what movement they are attempting, and performing a task on their behalf. This study demonstrates that one area of the brain (speech motor cortex) contains enough information about attempted directional movements (left, right, up, down) and attempted speech movements (tongue, lips, jaw, larynx) to support both BCI computer control and BCI speech from the same surgically-implanted electrodes.

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