1. Signalling Change

Signalling Change

Chip and transponder bring back motor functions for a paraplegic monkey

By: | Published: November 12, 2016 6:19 AM
Though the research is still incomplete, as the ability to steer would have to be determined to perfect the technology, it can still have a major impact on treatment of paralysis. Though the research is still incomplete, as the ability to steer would have to be determined to perfect the technology, it can still have a major impact on treatment of paralysis.

There are enough sci-fi movies to suggest that humans can cure paralysis by using technology. Although attempts have been made to control a robotic arm, none have come closer to creating a perfect system of real-time activity simulation between the brain and the neural network. But all this may soon change as a team of scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology seem to have cracked the impulse code. According to a study published in Nature, the team created a wi-fi chip which, along with a transponder, induced locomotion in a rhesus monkey afflicted with paraplegia—a spinal cord injury affecting the lower extremities. While the chip was attached to the part of brain that controls movement, the transponder was attached to the spine. As the brain sent signals to move, the electrodes in the spine received it real time.

Though the research is still incomplete, as the ability to steer would have to be determined to perfect the technology, it can still have a major impact on treatment of paralysis. Also, the research can help in development of artificial limbs that can perfect human movement. With artificial intelligence mechanisms helping targetted delivery of medicines and now research indicating that chips can translate brain functions, future technology may solve many problems that affect our nervous system.

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