Wireless, implantable brain sensor, shown next to a U.S. quarter for size comparison. (NIH/David Borton, Brown University)
A compact, self-contained sensor recorded and transmitted brain activity data wirelessly for more than a year in early stage animal tests, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to allowing for more natural studies of brain activity in moving subjects, this implantable device represents a potential major step toward cord-free control of advanced prosthetics that move with the power of thought. The report is in the the Journal of Neural Engineering.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could control your PC with your brain? Well, this sort of thing may be closer than you think.
Brain-computer interfaces that can translate thoughts into actions will change how stroke patients, paraplegics and other people with limited mobility interact with their surroundings. But so far, these devices have involved bulky corded equipment inside research labs, requiring patients to be tethered to a computer. Now researchers at Brown University have built the first wireless version. Like a cellphone embedded in the brain, their new implantable brain sensor can relay broadband signals in real time from up to 100 neurons
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What are Neurosprosthetics?
Neuroprosthetics (also called Neural Prosthetics) is a discipline related to neuroscience and biomedical engineering concerned with developing neural prostheses, artificial implantable devices to replace or improve the function of an impaired nervous system.Neuroprosthetics are the set of physical devices that interact with the brain or other neural tissue to augment, restore, or otherwise impact function.
Neuroprosthetics are electrical stimulation technologies that replace or assist damaged or malfunctioning neuromuscular organ systems and attempt to restore normal body processes, create or improve function, and/or reduce pain. These systems are either implanted or worn externally on the body. Such assistive devices range from intramuscular stimulation systems designed to limit limb atrophy in paralysis, to implanted bladder voiding systems and more complex implanted neuromuscular control.
The process of transitioning this technology into a clinically useful device will require two parallel paths of research. In the first path, experimental paradigms involving microelectrode array recordings in behaving animals will be developed in conjunction with signal processing techniques for studying the unknown aspects of neural coding and functional neurophysiology. These signal processing techniques will then be implemented in portable, low-power, wireless hardware.The second path, high-density array ECoG recordings in humans, provides a less invasive technique for neural interfaces however it still remains unknown how to extract BMI control signatures that are sufficiently spatially and temporally resolved. Neuroprosthetics is an area of intense scientific and clinical interest and rapid progress. The word’ prosthesis’ is derived from the Greek word for ‘addition’. A breakdown of the word includes ‘pros’ meaning ‘to’, and ‘thesis’, meaning ‘a placing’. Neuroprosthetic are in their infancy just now, but they offer two things that are truly wonderful:
1. Bypassing the body, and letting the mind interface directly with VR, for the ultimate immersive experience – the virtual body becomes as the normal functioning body
2. Augmented body parts will be able to be fitted to the body, and controlled by the brain as if you were born with them – after a little training, without conscious thought.
This is a preview of Biomedical Paper Presentation: What are Neuroprosthetics?. Read the full post (3515 words, 7 images, estimated 14:04 mins reading time)
Photo: Pierre Duez
Ultrasound is good for more than monitoring fetuses and identifying heart defects. According to engineers in Canada, it can help tell what people are thinking as well. Their research suggests that ultrasound-based devices could lead to a new kind of brain-computer interface.
Brain-computer interface technology allows users to control devices with brain activity alone. Researchers have focused primarily on clinical applications for people with severe disabilities who would otherwise have difficulty interacting with the outside world.
This is a preview of Biomedical Innovation: Ultrasound used for better Brain Computer Interface. Read the full post (677 words, 1 image, estimated 2:42 mins reading time)