Sensors to aid paralytic patients control devices using thoughts

on Wednesday, 06 March 2013. Posted in Mental Health, News, Products and Guidelines Written By: HealthTzars News Group

Sensors to aid paralytic patients control devices using thoughts

Paralytic patients will now be able to control devices using cell-phone like brain-sensors which relay signals from certain parts of their brain using their thoughts.

Neuron-engineers from Brown University have developed a rechargeable and implantable wireless sensor which is capable of relaying broadband signals from 100 neurons in freely moving subjects. Many copies of this device have been performing satisfactorily in animal subjects for almost a year now.

This is the first in the field of brain-and-computer interface which is expected to help people having severe paralysis to control devices using their thoughts. Arto Nurmikko, Professor in Engineering at the Brown University stated that this new device has features similar to a cell-phone except that instead of speech from the mouth, conversation is sent out directly from the brain wire-lessly.

In this device, a pill-shaped chip of electrodes is implanted on the cortex. This sends signals through eclectic connections into the hermetically sealed titanium and laser-welded device called, 'Can' which is uniquely designed. This can measures 2.2 inches in length, 1.65 inches in width and 0.35 inches in thickness.

The charging and wireless signals go through a sapphire window which is electromagnetically transparent. The lead author, David Borton said that the device is a major advancement in brain-machine interface field of science by virtue of what is packed within the device. He added that more importantly, the first ever fully implanted neural-interface micro-system worked wirelessly for almost twelve months in big animal subjects which is a mile-stone for potential translation in humans as well.

The device sends data at a speed of 24 Mbps through 3.2 and 3.8 Ghz microwave frequency to a receiver external to it. After charging for two hours and getting delivered wirelessly by induction through the scalp, it can function for almost six hours or more. 

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