Scientists Research Brain Implant Chip
Researchers at the University of Washington are working on an implantable electronic chip that may help establish new nerve connections in the part of the brain that controls movement. Their most recent study showed such a device can induce brain changes in monkeys lasting more than a week.
When awake, the brain continuously governs the body’s voluntary movements. This is largely done through the activity of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the motor cortex. These nerve cells, or neurons, send signals down to the spinal cord to control the contraction of certain muscles, like those in the arms and legs.
The possibility that these neural signals can be recorded directly and used to operate a computer or to control mechanical devices outside of the body has been driving the rapidly expanding field of brain-computer interfaces, often abbreviated BCI. The recent study suggests that the brain’s nerve signals can be harnessed to create changes within itself.