Krishna Shenoy and Boris Murmann move toward wireless brain-computer interface
The technology could one day help people with paralysis regain use of their limbs, and enable amputees to use their thoughts to control prostheses and interact with computers.
The current generation of neural implants record enormous amounts of neural activity, then transmit these brain signals through wires to a computer. But, so far, when researchers have tried to create wireless brain-computer interfaces to do this, it took so much power to transmit the data that the implants generated too much heat to be safe for the patient. A new study suggests how to solve his problem -- and thus cut the wires.
Research led by Professors Krishna Shenoy, Boris Murmann and Dr. Jaimie Henderson, have shown how it would be possible to create a wireless device, capable of gathering and transmitting accurate neural signals, but using a tenth of the power required by current wire-enabled systems. These wireless devices would look more natural than the wired models and give patients freer range of motion.
The next step will be to build an implant based on this new approach and proceed through a series of tests toward the ultimate goal.
Excerpted from Science News, "How thoughts could one day control electronic prostheses, wirelessly", August 5, 2020.