Scientists in Australia are currently in the process of developing an implant that will give paralyzed and heavily disabled patients the ability to control machines through their thoughts as well as monitor and predict seizures.
Able to record specific brain activity and function, the tiny implant known as astentrode will eventually be placed into a blood vessel located beside the patients brain. The information it records is then be translated and interpreted into thoughts and movemtns.
Dr. Tom Oxley and the team from Melbourne University created the study in an attempt to use bionics in a way that improves the medical industry as well as the treatment of paralysis and epilepsy.
By implanting the astentrode in patients via a catheter, it will give those with severe disabilities such as spinal cord injuries the ability to use their thoughts to control systems attached to their bodies, allowing them to interact with their surroundings again.
Another goal of the study is to predict and address the issue of severe seizures by monitoring and tracking brain activity before, during and after their occurrence. The team has to develop a custom-fitted decoding algorithm to translate the electric brain activity into useful information.
With successful animal trials already published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, by 2017 the team is keen to progress on to clinical human trials.