[NetBehaviour] Neural 'extension cord' developed for brain implants.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Jan 25 17:27:13 CET 2007

Neural 'extension cord' developed for brain implants.

A "data cable" made from stretched nerve cells could someday help 
connect computers to the human nervous system. The modified cells should 
form better connections with human tissue than the metal electrodes 
currently used for purposes such as remotely controlling prosthetics 
(see Brain implant enables mind over matter).

"The nervous system doesn't like nasty hard metal or plastic," says Doug 
Smith, who is developing the cell-based cable at the University of 
Pennsylvania, US. Nerve tissue can develop scarring or shrink away from 
contact with metal and other non-biological materials, he says.

"Nerve cells will happily grow to form new connections with new nerve 
cells though," Smith adds, "we want to try that as an alternative to 
ramming something into a nerve or the brain. The idea is to make a kind 
of extension cord." Prototype cables developed by his team have already 
been shown to transmit simple signals effectively.


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