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Scientists Create Implantable Brain Sensor

Brown University neuroengineers have developed a wireless, fully implantable brain sensor that functions as a brain-machine interface. The rechargeable sensor is a pill-shaped chip consisting of electrodes that are implanted on the cortex. It can communicate signals in real-time from 100 neurons to a titanium box that houses a signal processing system for the sensor system. Inside the box is a lithium ion battery, ultralow-power integrated circuits for signal processing and conversion, a wireless radio, infrared transmitters, and a copper coil for inductive recharging. The researchers have tested the sensor in six animal subjects for more than a year. Regulators haven’t approved it for use in humans yet, but researchers say they hope this will occur eventually for clinical trials involving people with movement-related disabilities. Brain-machine interfaces could help individuals with severe paralysis, for example, by letting them control devices—including assistive robotic arms—with their thoughts. The engineers are presenting their sensor at the 2013 International Workshop on Clinical Brain-Machine Interface Systems in Houston and publishing their work in the Journal of Neural Engineering. (EurekAlert)(Brown University)

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