Researchers develop a new chip which transmits stronger and sharper signals to restore absent bodily movement in people with damaged spinal cords.
If a person suffers a spinal cord injury, he may lose movement in the limbs, but that does not mean that the brain is not able to send electrical impulses, nor that the limbs are not able to receive them, the problem is that the signal Is lost when it reaches the damaged spinal cord, so if we manage to indicate another path, the problem would be solved.
With this idea in mind, they have created electrodes that transmit signals stronger and sharper than those currently used, capable of reaching receptors implanted in the extremities to recover lost movement.
The project is the result of collaboration between San Diego State University, the University of Washington and MIT. This brain-computer interface registers and transmits signals through tiny devices that exert the function of electrodes. By registering the brain signals at the moment a person intends to make some movement, the interface detects the relevant pattern of the electrical signal and can transmit it to the nerves of the extremities, or even to prosthesis, thus recovering the person’s mobility.
Nowadays this technology is already used with platinum as material for the electrodes, but with time it is broken. They are now vitreous carbon electrodes, 10 times thinner than granular platinum, and more resistant, as it corrodes less when receiving electrical signals.