The Braingate Neural Interface device consists of a tiny chip containing 100 microscopic electrodes that is surgically implanted in the brain's motor cortex. The whole apparatus is the size of a baby aspirin. The chip can read signals from the motor cortex, send that information to a computer via connected wires, and translate it to control the movement of a computer cursor or a robotic arm. According to Dr. John Donaghue of Cyberkinetics, there is practically no training required to use BrainGate because the signals read by a chip implanted, for example, in the area of the motor cortex for arm movement, are the same signals that would be sent to the real arm. A user with an implanted chip can immediately begin to move a cursor with thought alone.
The BrainGate technology platform was designed to take advantage of the fact that many patients with motor impairment have an intact brain that can produce movement commands. This may allow the BrainGate system to create an output signal directly from the brain, bypassing the route through the nerves to the muscles that cannot be used in paralysed people.