Virtual typing by people with tetraplegia using a self-calibrating intracortical brain-computer interface

Beata Jarosiewicz, Anish A. Sarma, Daniel Bacher, Nicolas Y. Masse, John D. Simeral, Brittany Sorice, Erin M. Oakley, Christine Blabe, Chethan Pandarinath, Vikash Gilja, Sydney S. Cash, Emad N. Eskandar, Gerhard Friehs, Jaimie M. Henderson, Krishna V. Shenoy, John P. Donoghue, Leigh R. Hochberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) promise to restore independence for people with severe motor disabilities by translating decoded neural activity directly into the control of a computer. However, recorded neural signals are not stationary (that is, can change over time), degrading the quality of decoding. Requiring users to pause what they are doing whenever signals change to perform decoder recalibration routines is time-consuming and impractical for everyday use of BCIs.Wedemonstrate that signal nonstationarity in an intracortical BCI can bemitigated automatically in software, enabling long periods (hours to days) of self-paced point-And-click typing by people with tetraplegia, without degradation in neural control. Three key innovations were included in our approach: tracking the statistics of the neural activity during self-timed pauses in neural control, velocity bias correction during neural control, and periodically recalibrating the decoder using data acquired during typing by mapping neural activity to movement intentions that are inferred retrospectively based on the user's self-selected targets. These methods, which can be extended to a variety of neurally controlled applications, advance the potential for intracortical BCIs to help restore independent communication and assistive device control for people with paralysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number313ra179
JournalScience translational medicine
Issue number313
StatePublished - Nov 11 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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