Brain implant allows for control of electronics with the mind

<span property="schema:name">Brain implant allows for control of electronics with the mind</span>
IMAGE CREDIT:  A man holds up two tablets reflecting the sky, one of which is blocking his face.

Brain implant allows for control of electronics with the mind

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    Mariah Hoskins
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Imagine if all you had to do to turn on your television was just think about turning it on. It would cut down on the time spent trying to find the remote, right? Well, a team of thirty-nine scientists at the University of Melbourne are working on a technology that may evolve into just that. The stentrode, a device that would be placed against the brain, is being developed to take note of the electrical activity of the brain and turn it into thought.

“We have been able to create the world’s only minimally invasive device that is implanted into a blood vessel in the brain via a simple day procedure, avoiding the need for high-risk open brain surgery,” said Dr. Oxley, the leader of the team. Not only is this research being used to help paralyzed patients, but through studying the brain activity of those with epilepsy or severe seizures, the eradication of those diseases will be more closely met; thought can be used to force those negative reactions away.

Stentrode insertion and use

The stentrode, essentially “a stent covered in electrodes”, is administered through a catheter. The device flows through the catheter to sit at the base of the motor cortex, right on top of the corresponding blood vessel. Previous insertion of a device like this required open brain surgery, so this minimally invasive procedure is very exciting.

After it has been installed, the stentrode is paired with a movement device attached to the patient. For example, a patient paralyzed from the waist down would need compatible leg prosthetics as their movement devices. Through some training with repetitive thought and practice with the movement device, the patient will be able to gain full mobility with the equipment. “[Patients] can use their thoughts to control the movement systems attached to their bodies, allowing them to interact with their surroundings again.”

Trials have already been successful with animals, so human trials are soon to come.

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