Scientists Working on Neural Chips for Paralyzed Patients

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Scientists Working on Neural Chips for Paralyzed Patients

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Technology may allow those with spinal cord injuries to regain some degree of movement.

Implanting microchips into people's brains is a staple of the sci-fi genre, usually to give some extraordinary cognitive ability, like learning how to fly a helicopter in the blink of an eye, or learning kung fu without having to spend years training. But the real versions of these chips, which are currently being worked on by British scientists, won't do anything quite so fancy. Instead, they will allow paralyzed patients to do simple things we take for granted, like picking up a cup.

"The guy can see the object he wants to reach, the guy can have the intention to reach to the object, the brain can send a command to the arm - 'reach for this cup of tea' - but the signal gets broken at the level of the spinal cord," said Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga of the University of Leicester. "If we can get the signals from these neurons and interpret them with what is called decoding algorithms, then we can move a robot device placed on the paralyzed arm."

Quiroga hopes that the technology will be available within five years, but says that making the chips wireless is proving to be a big challenge. The chips will produce tens of thousands of data points and without a wire that much information is hard to send. "It's a huge amount of data, so the bandwidth won't be enough," he said. '"We're trying to do some basic processing on the chip to reduce the bandwidth. So instead of 30,000 data points per second, maybe we'll be sending 100 data points per second, or 1,000."

Source: The Telegraph

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Well at least they aren't studying something useless this time. This would be a nice thing to have if they can ever get it to work properly.

This is damn impressive if it works well... technology is amazing. :D

Good luck to them. It would be absolutely fantastic if they could ever get this working.

If it helps disabled people gain at least some degree of movement back then go for it.

Sounds awesome, and this is something that needs to be developed, however even if they perfect it I wonder how long it will be before it will become affordable to those who need it.

The scientists doing this probably have a massive budget from a medical company that is of course going to want to not only recoup those losses, but make a profit. Nothing wrong with that, but it does mean that it will probably be several generations after the tech is perfected before anyone outside the absolute richest 1% of the world population will be able to benefit from it.

Great peice of technology that can be applied for great things or for some truly heinous ones.

But either way, it marches on.

"Yeah, they cna fix a spinal, if you've got the money. But not on vet benefits, not in this economy."
Whoops, sorry.
THis is an incredible peice of technology, and a true step forward. TO the developers of technology like this, two thumbs way up. Keep up the good work guys. It is good to see that, despite the fact that it may look like we are standing still technologically,we are in fact moving forwards. Soon the truth will be obvious, with our technology, creativity and innovative spirit, we can and will do amazing things.

I would love to see those decoding algorithms.
Perhaps human shaped robots linked to a person's neural chip,bypassing clunky modern day interfaces for hazardous work in the future?

http://www.beamsinvestigations.org.uk/BT's%20'Soul%20Catcher%202025'%20Implants.htm

I heard about this years ago, the sheer amount of awesome has yet to fade, whats even better is that its BT that are building the above example.

Hot damn and hallelujah. After years and years of spinal cord injury being the equivalent to a worse-than-death sentence, tech has finally reached a point to give people their lives back.

And why wait for wireless? We've already got implanted TENS (Temporary Embedded Nerve Stimulator) units with wires that go up and down the spine. Stretch those wires a bit further, get those units out the door, and give people a chance to progress towards getting out of their wheelchairs.

Today, lifting a cup of tea.
Tomorrow, lifting a bus!

If it works then it will be a medical achievement. And it would be wonderful if people who are paralyzed can walk again.

Well, they've come out with Deep Brain Stimulation for patients with movement disorders, such as Parkinson's Disease. They could (hypothetically) use DBS to help other neurological problems, such as Alzheimer's Disease, certain forms of Developmental Brain diseases, maybe even depression. Technology is an interesting thing...

It's really amazing how far medical technology has advanced even just in the past 50 years. I for one eagerly await where technology can lead us next.

This is the stuff that had me so intrigued by technology when I was younger.

Thats pretty cool! I like it! Hopfully this is a good, first step in the way of giving those who are mobility impaired the chance to live life again as they once did

I don't see how "interpreting" the signals could be a problem, after all, it's just voltage (maybe amperage, you know what I mean!) it could simply send a signal saying "received _v and _amps" and the other one could send out that shock.

Of course I'm not saying this is easy, but from what I see, I imagine the real difficulty would be in making the system small enough not really in making it interpret the signals.

EDIT: This may sound kind of rude, but I am noticing more and more that most of the technology articles on The Escapist were in Popular Science.....years ago.

I can get that they want it to be wireless, but why not make it wired? If they could make it come out years earlier with a wire, I'm sure paralyzed people would want it, not to mention the sheer money they would get from being the "first" to offer it.

Logan Westbrook:
"If we can get the signals from these neurons and interpret them with what is called decoding algorithms, then we can move a robot device placed on the paralyzed arm."

So basically a neuro-wired exo-skeleton?

AWESOME!!!

Hopefully this works, good luck men (and women) of science!

danpascooch:

EDIT: This may sound kind of rude, but I am noticing more and more that most of the technology articles on The Escapist were in Popular Science.....years ago.

Shouldnt surprise you, considering how copy and paste their "news" here are.

Hey, and this time it wasnt sensationalized with some nerdy cyborg reference. Congrats, you may have started to earn the right to call this a news section...just maybe.

danpascooch:

EDIT: This may sound kind of rude, but I am noticing more and more that most of the technology articles on The Escapist were in Popular Science.....years ago.

Well, the folks at popular science used hyperbole and fantasy to describe the technology, many years earlier.

Hopefully this may be one of those things we look back on 20 years from now and think "How did we live without that?"

this is the kind of science we need. none of those useless investigations such as 'is a jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit' or 'which biscuit can last the longest in a cup of tea without falling in'.

thiosk:

danpascooch:

EDIT: This may sound kind of rude, but I am noticing more and more that most of the technology articles on The Escapist were in Popular Science.....years ago.

Well, the folks at popular science used hyperbole and fantasy to describe the technology, many years earlier.

No, it was pretty much exactly like this article.

They are laying the foundations for the technological development of the 21st century. Eventually neurons will be understood well enough that full machine-man integration will be possible.

dochmbi:
They are laying the foundations for the technological development of the 21st century. Eventually neurons will be understood well enough that full machine-man integration will be possible.

And then we can all become Borg and our resistance will be futile

YAY

seriously though this is cool let's just hope we don't end up with a borg hive mind though.

Woo! First Leicester discovers(ish) DNA, now we're working on curing Paralysis.

We already game the world Walkers (Lays) crisps, Pork Pies, Gary Lineker and the Attenborough Brothers...Gotta say, really proud of my city!

It might sound a little selfish, but is it wrong for me to want something like this?

I mean, I might actually be able to open the damn pickle jar!
that is, if it would also increase a patients strength.

That's fucking rad.

i wonder how theyll be able to determine if the action potential means pick up cup instead of kick yourself in the ass.

nick n stuff:
this is the kind of science we need. none of those useless investigations such as 'is a jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit' or 'which biscuit can last the longest in a cup of tea without falling in'.

I disagree, that biscuit one was a legendary experiment, though some bullshit about potatoes ruined it :(..

yay for science! :D

dochmbi:
They are laying the foundations for the technological development of the 21st century. Eventually neurons will be understood well enough that full machine-man integration will be possible.

Sounds good to me.

That is awesome. Little more needs to be said.

^^

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