Boffins have come up with an implant that melts into place so that it can fit to the brain’s surface.
The big idea is that the technology could pave the way for better devices to monitor and control seizures, and to transmit signals from the brain past damaged parts of the spinal cord.
Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) said the implants have the potential to maximize the contact between electrodes and brain tissue, while minimizing damage to the brain.
The Neural electrode array is wrapped onto a model of the brain. The wrapping process occurs spontaneously, driven by dissolution of a thin, supporting substrate of silk.
In other words it is the same as the knotted hankie in Monty Python’s “Gumby Sketch”.
According to Nature Materials , which we get for the “spot the brain cell competition” it has been challenging lately as it features David Beckham – the ultrathin flexible implants, made partly from silk, can record brain activity more faithfully than thicker implants embedded with similar electronics.
In people with epilepsy, the arrays could be used to detect when seizures first begin, and deliver pulses to shut the seizures down.
Those with spinal cord injuries, could use the technology to pilot robotic limbs.
Of course it could also be used to turn people into clockwork oranges and mean a compulsory implant instead of an ASBO.