It may sound like science fiction, but the development of an implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) that can directly detect brain signals and wirelessly send them to a decoding computer is under development at the Wyss Center.
This implantable brain radio has the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of neuro-disorders ranging from epilepsy and paralysis to tinnitus.
The next step in BCI development
One of the major challenges of developing implantable devices that can measure brain signals is securely encapsulating the device in a protective biocompatible housing that will allow it to function in the body for years. The integration of innovative feedthrough technologies, hermetic sealing and biocompatible materials are key to driving the field forward.
Restoring communication, mobility, and independence
The system works by placing a tiny microelectrode array into the surface of the cerebral cortex – the outer gray matter of the brain. The microelectrode array detects brain activity and relays the neural signals to a computer. The computer translates the signal into digital commands, giving patients the opportunity to communicate, interact and regain independence.