This story is from the category The Brain
Date posted: 16/10/2008
A brain implant with mobile electrodes that can seek out and connect to individual neurons in the brain has enabled monkeys to regain control of a paralysed wrist.
The inventors of the implant say it could help people paralysed by spinal injuries to regain control of their limbs, or control robotic limbs.
Previous implants collect signals from large collections of neurons, and need complex software to process them into a clean output signal.
Moritz's system, though, uses only 12 moving electrodes ? just 50 micrometres wide ? to seek out and connect to just a single neuron. This produces a much simpler and tidier output signal.
After being inserted into the brain's motor cortex, the device can sense where the strongest signal is coming from, and move the electrodes towards it.
Implants like these could control prosthetic limbs more precisely because they relay signals from carefully chosen neurons, rather than having software calculate a signal from recordings of many different cells.
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