Synchron, a spin-off from the University of Melbourne in Australia, has announced the first successful implantation of the Stentrode minimally invasive neural interface device in a person. The device is part of the Synchron brain-computer interface and combines the minimally invasive delivery of a vascular stent with the functionality of a neural implant.
The company hopes that the device could unlock a range of capabilities, including giving paralyzed patients the ability to control assistive technologies such as wheelchairs or robotic arms...read the full article on Medgadget...
The department for Materials Science and Engineering as well as the department for Brain and Cognitive Sciences at M.I.T. is looking into the problem of Brain-Computer communication from different angles. The teams
around Professor Polina Anikeeva follow two approaches:
The Material Science team looks into creation of composite polymer electrodes that are more brain like. They developed multipurpose fibers that can deliver electrical, optical, and chemical signals to individual neurons in the brain, while matching the stretchiness and flexibility of brain tissue. They have also developed similar flexible implantable fibers that can be implanted into the spinal cord.
The Brain Cognitive Science Team looks into magnetic nano-particles that can be injected into the brain to then trigger neurons in the vincity by inducting a magnetic field around the whole head. In this way the team is able to trigger neurons without an implanted device in the brain.
Elon Musk's investment NEURALINK issued a whitepaper along with a lengthy presentation of Elon Musk himself and other key people in the company explaining the project in reasonable detail.
The company built very small sensors that will be implanted unter the skull and from which each 1024 electrodes reach down into the brain tissue. These electrodes will be placed with the help of a robot. The sensor(s) will be connected by wire to an inductive coil behind the ear (that is also implanted). A device (called 'The Link') will be magnetically attached to the coil from outside of the skull. The Link contains the batteries and a bluetooth sender that can connect to the users smart phone.