Blackrock Neurotech uses next-gen 'thought-to-cursor' tech to allow paralyzed patients to create art

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Blackrock Neurotech are showcasing the power of neurotechnology at the world’s first-ever brain-computer interface (BCI) art show.

The show, called the BCI Exhibit, showcases new work by patients with paralysis using what is being called a “thought-to-cursor” implantable brain-computer interface technology that comes from medtech company Blackrock.

Blackrock, which scored the FDA’s first approval for an implanted electrode panel that sends brain signals to a computer for translation, now has a newer brain-computer interface in the form of the MoveAgain system.

This picks up neurological signals from the brain of a paralyzed patient, then parses out their intent to control cursors and keyboards, mobile devices, wheelchairs and prosthetic devices.

That tech nabbed an FDA breakthrough tag in late 2021 and the company is planning to release it as the first BCI product for home use from next year.

Ahead of this, it wants to show what it can do and it’s using the exhibit for just that. The digital art comes from what Blackrock called in its press release "BCI Pioneers," patients with paralysis who have received a Blackrock implant.

Their works were created using software platforms like Photoshop and MS Paint. “There’s a common misperception that all BCI technology is rudimentary or in its earliest stages, but as this exhibit demonstrates, BCI Pioneers have used Blackrock technology to execute incredibly sophisticated tasks, like operation of complex programs, for years,” said Marcus Gerhardt, co-founder and CEO of Blackrock, in a press release.

“The works on display in the BCI Exhibit represent a groundbreaking intersection of science and art,” added Olga Francois, chair of the AAAS Arts Program and Committee. “We’ve seen an explosion of conversation in recent months about the impact that technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will have on human creativity, and The BCI Exhibit highlights a fascinating facet of this discussion.”