Wednesday, 10 Nov, 2010 Science

Neural Implants May Appear Soon


Neural implants that are meant to restore damaged areas in the brain can become a reality in about a decade.

IMEC manger Wolfgang Eberle believes that the involved technology could be used to create smart brain implants.

"And such implants could replace and repair damaged brain tissue. Or fill brain cavities caused by tumors, accidents, or brain infarcts," added Eberle.

He also mentioned that today a number of technologies already communicate to the brain. One of them is called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and is used to spot symptoms linked with Parkinson's, depression and OCD.

IMEC has also developed small electrodes (10nm) that are able to stimulate small groups of nerve cells. Besides, the "closed-loop" system, also designed by IMEC, estimates signals from brain cells and then used to control the applied stimuli.

"With the help of imaging and 3D prototyping technology, it will be possible to create highly precise 3D implants, such as are already used today to replace damaged bone tissue," Eberle told Electronics Weekly.

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