Usually when people become paralyzed due to a stroke or an accident, their brain still functions normally. It’s just the brain’s pathway to the rest of the body that’s broken.
But that could soon change, as the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering is leading the charge on some cutting edge research to get around this problem.
Now, I’m not talking about creating a real-life RoboCop experience. Rather, they’re developing tiny, implantable devices that will communicate with the parts of the body that are “offline.” Think of it as building a new bridge for transporting information.
Basically, these devices will enable the brain to “talk” to the paralyzed regions using wireless transmission. They’ll decode electrical signals from the brain, such as: “Hey, pick up that fork.” Or: “Hey, turn that faucet!” Then they’ll transmit what the brain wants to the nervous system for action.
Can anyone say “bypass surgery?”
This technology comes with some much-needed updates. Today’s implantable devices can lead to unwanted side effects (and drain batteries), because they’re constantly bombarding the brain will electrical impulses. But this new technology will only work on-demand. That means less battery power, less maintenance – and less “wear and tear” on the body’s already damaged neural network.
I’m currently tracking the on-demand implant technology via my social media collective intelligence tool. In the past we’ve been able to get a jump on the market by discovering emerging trends in social media before they hit mainstream news.
Researchers estimate this new technology is still about five years from fielding. But with advances in biotech we expect to see in 2016, we may see a fast track!
Editor, Biotech Intel Trader