A brain stent to thought-control an exoskeleton
Just like a vascular stent, this device equipped with electrodes is implanted into a blood vessel next to the brain’s motor cortex. It can pick up signals that would normally be sent by the brain to create movement. The signal is then sent to a computer commanding an exoskeleton. Paralysed people could control an exoskeleton (or any robotic limb) by thought. The device was successfully tested on live sheep and a clinical trial on a group of paralysed patients is planned for early 2018.
One advantage of this technique is that it doesn’t require invasive brain surgery. The research team is working to adapt the stentrode so it can provide an alternative treatment for other neurological conditions, including epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s a good example of fluid and almost immediate collaboration between a human intention and an action by a digital machine.
Spotted in 2018