Tufts University and alumnus Jeff Stibel announced the donation of BrainGate and its patented brain-computer technology to the university.
BrainGate develops neurotechnology that uses micro-electrodes implanted in the brain to let humans operate external devices such as computers or robotic arms with just their thought, according to a news release. The company has received FDA investigational device exemption for human trials with the brain-computer interface (BCI) technology.
Medford, Mass.-based Tufts said the donation will allow further research into a new generation of neurotechnologies, while BrainGate’s former executive chairman Stibel made an additional donation of funds to launch the Stibel Dennett Consortium at the university to build upon the technology and advance the study of brain and cognitive science.
“BrainGate is a foundational platform for BCI technologies being developed around the world, and I can think of no better place for its advancement than Tufts University,” Stibel said in the release. “BrainGate is on the cutting edge of cognitive science and implantable brain technology, and it is important to us that it is protected and responsibly developed. I believe this donation will lead to a world in which those afflicted with neurologic disease or serious injury will be able to communicate and control advanced prosthetics by using just their mind.
“I am thrilled to work with Tufts’ talented researchers, ethicists, and professors to engineer this technology and continue to improve the quality of people’s lives.”
Tufts is set to now explore increased development and commercialization of the BrainGate technology, while Stibel also endowed two new professorships to help build upon the platform and “explore a deeper understanding of how the brain processes language as well as how the brain gathers information from human senses to tell our body how to move.”
“This donation is transformative for Tufts University and the study of brain and cognitive science,” Tufts president Anthony Monaco said. “The formation of the Stibel Dennett Consortium along with the BrainGate technology puts Tufts at the center of global cognitive science and neurotechnology innovation. We are truly grateful for Jeff’s and his partners’ generous gesture and energized by the possibilities that lie ahead.”