A group of researchers from South Korea and the United States have developed a wireless implant that affect certain areas of the brain. This, in fact, would not be surprising, for a long time, there are many different devices of similar type. However, the interest in this case is this: a new device, not just “installed” in the brain. It allows you to control the neural… using a regular smartphone.
Why to implant in the brain implants?
A variety of brain implants aimed primarily at identifying and treating such conditions as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression, severe pain, withdrawal syndrome, and so on. It should be noted that this approach is not new to the scientific community. Something similar doing for quite some time. You may recall the same project Neuralink from Elon musk or a similar development on Facebook.
Only here the usual methods used by neuroscientists today, include the use of rigid metal tubes and fiber optic cables. In addition to limiting the movements of the subject due to the “physical” connection with cumbersome equipment, their relatively rigid structure over time causes damage to the soft tissues of the brain, which makes them unsuitable for long-term implantation. The new approach will allow to avoid such complications.
Looks like a new brain implant
According to the editors of Science Daily, citing the Nature Biomedical Engineering, new implant consists of a replaceable cartridge with a dose of the drug, microscopic channels and tiny LEDs. The device is partially “submerged” in brain tissue, but most of it remains outside. It should also be noted that to control the operation of the implant can be easily using the normal app on your smartphone. With the phone implant is connected by means of Bluetоoth.
More over the design of the device allows also to solve another problem: the exhaustion of stocks of the drug. A neural unit has a replaceable cartridge for a medication that allows you to easily add medication or even replace it without the need to dismantle the whole system. Through this approach, neuroscientists can easily cause any desired reaction in response to the introduction of drugs even without having to physically be around animals.
This allows us to better analyze the neural circuits that underlie behavior, and how specific neuromodulators in the brain affect behavioral responses. We also strive to use the device for complex pharmacological studies, which could help us to develop new treatments for brain diseases. We are interested in further developing this technology to make brain implant for clinical use.