MAR 13, 2020 3:53 PM PDT

Advancing Brain-Machine Interfaces

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

At Stanford University, researchers have designed a device that connects the brain to silicon-based technologies. Although the brain-machine interface devices have been in existence, the newly developed device can advance treatments for prosthetics, disease development, and neurological research by being keen on recording more data.

"Electrical activity is one of the highest-resolution ways of looking at brain activity," said Nick Melosh, professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford and co-senior author of the paper. "With this microwire array, we can see what's happening on the single-neuron level."

Findings were published in Science Advances.

Learn more about brain-machine interfaces:

"Nobody has taken these 2D silicon electronics and matched them to the three-dimensional architecture of the brain before," said Abdulmalik Obaid, a graduate student in materials science and engineering at Stanford. "We had to throw out what we already know about conventional chip fabrication and design new processes to bring silicon electronics into the third dimension. And we had to do it in a way that could scale up easily."

The study discusses how a bundle of ‘microwires’ can be inserted to the brain and connect on the outside directly via silicon chip. They have tested their development on isolated eye cells from rats.

"Silicon chips are so powerful and have an incredible ability to scale up," said Melosh. "Our array couples with that technology very simply. You can actually just take the chip, press it onto the exposed end of the bundle and get the signals."

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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