Wyss Center team with ABILITY implant

An implantable brain-computer interface to restore movement and communication

The Wyss Center is developing a fully implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) that can directly detect brain signals, and wirelessly transmit through the scalp without the need of any percutaneous component. The neural data is received by an external wearable device then transmitted to a computer via a wired connection. The computer decodes the brain signals in real time to control assistive devices such as prosthetics or to integrate with voice or communication systems. 

The system, called ABILITY which stands for Active Brain Implant Live Information Transfer sYstem, will use multiple channels to collect high-resolution brain data that are needed to effectively restore communication, movement and independence for people with disabilities. 

Our technology development efforts are currently focused on the following applications:  

• Restoring reach and grasp in tetraplegia and stroke patients, in collaboration with Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG)

• Enabling communication with people ‘locked-in’ as a result of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), in collaboration with Utrecht University

• Restoration of walking in people following spinal cord injury, in collaboration with École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV)

• Exploring the potential for use in neuromodulation applications 

Wyss Center team with ABILITY implant

The ABILITY platform

At the center of the ABILITY platform is an active, fully implantable medical device, designed for long-term implantation. Its design brings together state-of-the-art know-how and engineering to achieve numerous ‘firsts’ in the area of brain implantable devices. An exceptionally high channel count allows high resolution recording of brain signals while secure wireless transmission of broadband neural data (30 Mbits/s), battery-less operation and encapsulation in a protective housing with hermetic sealing and biocompatible materials will allow the implant to function in the body for years. The implant is similar in size to a cochlear implant and can be implanted with a simple subcutaneous procedure. 

The active implant is currently connected to two tiny arrays of microelectrodes that continuously record neural signals from the surface of the cortex. Hermetic feedthroughs allow the wires from the microelectrodes to enter and connect to the implant, while keeping moisture away from the sensitive internal electronics.

The device is also designed to be flexibly connected to a variety of other electrode technologies such as ECoG, our Epios electrodes, and flexible, stretchable and customizable arrays. 

Device Feedthroughs CAD diagram of Ability device by Osypka
Feedthroughs allow wires that carry brain signals to pass into implantable neuro-devices while keeping moisture away from the sensitive internal electronics.

NeuroKey data processing software

The Wyss Center’s NeuroKey software is easily integrated with ABILITY. Developed as medical-grade software, the high-performance data analysis platform processes large amounts of information in real-time and enables rapid prototyping of clinical apps.

ABILITY Implant Dark icon
Implant and connected electrodes
ABILITY Wearable icon
ABILITY Data Processor ICON
Data processor
Data Visualisation ICON
Data visualization

In numbers

channels of neural data
30 Mbits/s
broadband neural data sensing and transmission
first preclinical trials planned with implant

We collaborate with academic and clinical partners as well as a network of industrial technology partners.

Hpitaux Universitaires De Genve 2015 Logo

Epfl Logo

Uutrecht Logo En Cmyk 3

Universittsspital Lausanne Chuv Logo


210729549 Wc Neurokey 01

We welcome new opportunities to exchange ideas and to explore collaborations

Collaborate with us

We are searching for innovative and driven people to make a difference

Join our team

Follow us