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About this app

Learn through an immersive virtual reality experience how the European project BrainCom is developing cutting edge technology based on graphene to help patients who suffered injuries to recover speech functionalities.

This technology has been developed in Catalonia, Spain and Europe, by the BrainCom Consortium, coordinated from the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) by ICREA Prof. Jose A. Garrido.

The VRAINCOM experience comprises three parts:

- An immersive animation detailing the needs of the European BrainCom project and its scientific approach. You will discover how this new technology works and how it could help in the future patients suffering from cognitive disorders, such as speech problems.

- A 360-degree virtual tour presenting scientific staff from different centres of the BrainCom’s consortium in action. You will be able to see with your own eyes how researchers grow graphene and fabricate the neural probes at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2); how they check the probe’s quality and design the electronic chips at the National Microelectronics Center in Barcelona (IMB-CNM-CSIC); and how they study brain activity to be able to translate it into artificial speech at the Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA).

- Finally, through an interactive module, get responses from renowned philosophers to the ethical questions generated by a project as this. Can they read our minds? Is our privacy duly protected? Can machines decide what the patient will say? ...

Recent advances have shown that it is possible to record cortical signals from an area of the brain motor cortex and decode them to allow tetraplegic patients to activate a mechanical arm and perform common tasks. Likewise, these brain-computer interfaces have also been successfully applied to make it easier for patients unable to speak to communicate their thoughts. Likewise, the precision and versatility of these devices can be highly improved if more precise neural information is available which means, if the sensors can be made more accurate.

The BrainCom project proposes a radically new electroencephalography (EEG) technology that applies the outstanding mechanical and electrical properties of new nanomaterials, such as graphene, 2D materials and organic semiconductors. The Consortium’s members fabricate ultra-flexible cortical and intracortical implants that will be located on the surface of the brain, thus allowing high-density registration and stimulation of strategic points on a large surface of the cortex. This strategy will enable the stimulation and decoding of cortical activity while providing an unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution.

These technologies will promote the advancement of basic knowledge of cortical networks related to speech and the development of rehabilitation strategies that can provide speech recovery through new paradigms of brain-computer interaction.

The members of the BrainCom project consortium are:

• Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2) – Spain (Coordinator)
• Instituto de Microelectrónica de Barcelona (CNM-IMB-CSIC) – Spain
• Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) – France
• ARMINES / École des Mines de St. Étienne – France
• Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble – France
• Multichannel Systems – Germany
• University of Geneva – Switzerland
• University of Oxford – United Kingdom
• University of Cambridge – United Kingdom
• Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – Germany
• Wavestone – Luxembourg

The BrainCom project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 732032.
For more information: http://www.braincom-project.eu/
Updated on
Oct 2, 2023

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