Imagine what it would be like to control the machines with your thoughts only, just as you sit in your bed or chair. Sounds like something right out of a science fiction novel, doesn’t it?
Australian scientists from Melbourne University are carrying out research in the field of brain machine interfaces. They are currently in the process of developing an implant that will help disabled and paralyzed patients control machines with their thoughts, and in the process, let them communicate better.
Paper clip-sized bionic spinal cord
A tiny bio-compatible implant stentrode, an implant the size of a paper clip, will essentially let you to record brain activity from the specific parts of the brain. It is being described as a ‘bionic spinal cord’.
This stentrode will be implanted in the blood vessel of the patient besides the brain. The recorded electric activity will then be decoded and interpreted as thoughts and movements, which in turn could control machines!
No surgery required
The biggest news regarding this is – no brain surgery is required for the implant.
Professor Clive May, a neurophysiologist at the Florey Institute, said:
All the other devices require a craniotomy to insert them, which means removing part of the skull.
Some of these devices are actually punched into the brain tissue itself and obviously that can cause damage and signals from these other devices tend to disappear with time.
So a big advantage of our device is that it can be put in through a small nick in the blood vessel in the neck and then, in what we think will be a day procedure, put up into a blood vessel in the brain.
Goals of the research
Dr. Tom Oxley and rest of the team behind the creation of this implant, aim of exploring the field of bionics. Their goal is to gain crucial data that can help in the aid of patients suffering from spinal cord injury, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders. They hope to make these patients mobile.
The Stentrode will be implanted using a catheter to use thoughts to control the movement systems
Another aim behind this research is to understand what goes on in people’s brains before, during and after they suffer a seizure. This can help us gain better understanding about how the mind works as well.
A custom-fitted decode algorithm has already been designed by the researchers to help in translating and interpreting the thoughts.
With this you can, in essence, become a Jedi knight through a simple brain implant.