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