Brain-Computer Interface Goes Wireless

Engineers have improved on the original and groundbreaking brain-computer interface by creating a wireless device that has successfully been implanted into the brains of monkeys and pigs.

What's the Latest Development?


Engineers at Brown University have improved on their original and groundbreaking brain-computer interface by creating a wireless device that has successfully been implanted into the brains of monkeys and pigs. The device houses its own internal operating system, complete with a lithium ion battery, ultralow-power circuits for processing and conversion, wireless radio, infrared transmitters, and a copper coil for recharging. "A pill-sized chip of electrodes implanted on the cortex sends signals through uniquely designed electrical connections into the device's laser-welded, hermetically sealed 2.2 inches-long, 9 mm thick titanium 'can.'"

What's the Big Idea?

The device, recently written about in the Journal of Neural Engineering, has been functioning well in animals for over a year. Now scientists expect to move closer to testing the device on humans, for which the device was originally intended. "Brain-computer interfaces could help people with severe paralysis control devices with their thoughts. ... Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are used to assess the feasibility of people with severe paralysis being able to move assistive devices like robotic arms or computer cursors by thinking about moving their arms and hands."

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