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VR Interfaces: The First Smart Neurostimulator


Overview of The First Smart Neurostimulator
The twin companies of Medtronics and Neuropace have managed to develop the first neurostimulators that monitor electrical activity via electrodes implanted deep in the brain in a remarkably similar approach to neural-readers. They could be used for brain-machine interfacing, true, but in this case the deep electrode arrays are intended to monitor fluctuations in the electrical potential in at-risk areas of the brain.

In this manner the devices can deliver the electrical stimulation needed to suppresses seizures. This is a major step forwards as until now, the only way to prevent seizures via neurostimulators was to apply stimulation on a fixed schedule regardless of brain conditions - no way to monitor them.

The first devices were presented over a week before time of writing, in mid September 2009. They debuted at the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society meeting in Minneapolis, US. The model pictured above, being the Medtronics version.

More clinical trials are necessary at this point, to provide data for the effectiveness of this approach, which seems far more sensible than previous neurostimulator techniques.

However, human trials are still some years away.

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