Implantable Device Melts into the Brain and Records Its Activity

Possible precursor to nano-enabled device that allows us to feel other's sensations

1 min read
Implantable Device Melts into the Brain and Records Its Activity

Last week I shared a video on this blog in which the noted University of Cambridge scientist, Professor Mark Welland, envisioned that someday nanotechnology could enable a device that would be implanted into our brain and would allow us to not only communicate with people like a miniature mobile phone but also would allow us to feel their sensations.

I was intrigued on where this idea came from based on the Cambridge Nanoscience Center’s current list of research projects. But over at Frogheart, the prospect of such a device seemed a good deal more foreboding.

This concern led to Frogheart discovering a very interesting story published over at Nanowerk in which researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, have developed a brain implant that melts into place and can record the brain’s activity when exposed to visual stimuli.

The work was published in Nature Materials. While strictly speaking the device is not on the nanoscale, it’s clear to see that further development of the technology could lead down this road.

Nanowerk provides a quote from one of the researchers on the project. "The focus of our study was to make ultrathin arrays that conform to the complex shape of the brain, and limit the amount of tissue damage and inflammation," said Brian Litt, M.D., an author on the study and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. 

The immediate applications for such a technology would be to treat epilepsy, spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders. However, one does think this might be the way that Professor Welland’s vision could be realized—whatever misgivings some may have with such a prospect.

 


The Conversation (0)

The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

1 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan
LightGreen

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

Keep Reading ↓Show less