US authorities approve first non-invasive brain-computer interface

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised the use of a brain-computer interface device that assists in rehabilitation for stroke patients with hand, wrist, and arm disability. Developed by Neurolutions, the IpsiHand Upper Extremity Rehabilitation System (IpsiHand System) uses non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes (instead of the more common electrodes implanted into the brain) to record brain activity. The data is then wirelessly transmitted to a tablet which analyses the intended muscle movement and sends a signal to a wireless electronic hand brace, which subsequently moves the patient’s hand. The device, aimed to help stroke patients improve grasping, can be used only if prescribed by a physician. A clinical study showed that all patients who were part of the study had improvements in their motor functions after using IpsiHand for 12 weeks. This is the first noninvasive brain-computer interface approved by the FDA.