The device is intended to collect the information about brain signals to determine how much stimulation is delivered and when to deliver it. All this has to be done without the intervention of a doctor. From the groups of a few thousand neurons, the device will make some of the first long-term recordings so that researchers can correlate brain signals with neural diseases and therapies.

Our hope is that we will not be just improving the lives of the patients who use this, but through that effort fundamentally understanding how the brain works as well, said Tim Denison, a senior engineering manager heading up electronics design of the device.

You basically get a freebie, a therapy doing its job and at the same time recording scientific information, said Gregory Molnar, director of neuro-modulation research at Medtronic, Denision’s counterpart on the scientific side of the work.