The Utah intracortical Electrode Array: a recording structure for potential brain-computer interfaces

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1997 Mar;102(3):228-39. doi: 10.1016/s0013-4694(96)95176-0.


We investigated the potential of the Utah Intracortical Electrode Array (UIEA) to provide signals for a brain-computer interface (BCI). The UIEA records from small populations of neurons which have an average signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 6:1. We provide specific examples that show the activities of these populations of neurons contain sufficient information to perform control tasks. Results from a simple stimulus detection task using these signals as inputs confirm that the number of neurons present in a recording is significant in determining task performance. Increasing the number of units in a recording decreases the sensitivity of the response to the stimulus; decreasing the number of units in the recording, however, increases the variability of the response to the stimulus. We conclude that recordings from small populations of neurons, not single units, provide a reliable source of sufficiently stimulus selective signals which should be suitable for a BCI. In addition, the potential for simultaneous and proportional control of a large number of external devices may be realized through the ability of an array of microelectrodes such as the UIEA to record both spatial and temporal patterns of neuronal activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cats
  • Computers*
  • Microelectrodes*
  • Neurons / physiology*