BrainCom is a collaborative research project that aims to develop a new generation of neuroprosthetic devices for large-scale and high density recording and stimulation of the human cortex, suitable to explore and repair high-level cognitive functions. Since one of the most invalidating neurospychological conditions is arguably the impossibility to communicate with others, BrainCom primarily focuses on the restoration of speech and communication in aphasic patients suffering from upper spinal cord, brainstem or brain damage. To target broadly distributed neural systems as the language network, BrainCom will use novel electronic technologies based on nanomaterials to design ultra-flexible cortical and intracortical implants adapted to large-scale highdensity recording and stimulation.
The main challenge of the project is to achieve flexible contact of broad cortical areas for stimulation and neural activity decoding with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. Critically, the development of such novel neuroprosthetic devices will permit significant advances to the basic understanding of the dynamics and neural information processing in cortical speech networks and the development of speech rehabilitation solutions using innovative brain-computer interfaces. Beyond this application, BrainCom innovations will enable the study and repair of other high-level cognitive functions such as learning and memory as well as other clinical applications such as epilepsy monitoring using closed-loop paradigms. BrainCom is carried out by a consortium assembled to foster the emergence of a new community in Europe acting towards the development of neural speech prostheses. Thanks to its high interdisciplinarity involving technology, engineering, biology, clinical sciences, and ethics, BrainCom will contribute advances to all levels of the value chain: from technology and engineering to basic and language neuroscience, and from preclinical research in animals to clinical studies in humans.