Indian-origin scientist develops smart chip for wireless neural implants

An Indian-origin scientist has developed a smart chip that can be paired with neural implants for efficient wireless transmission of brain signals — thus alleviating the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or giving paraplegic people the ability to move prosthetic limbs. Assistant professor Arindam Basu from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, said the research team has tested the chip on data recorded from animal models which showed that it could decode the brain’s signal to the hand and fingers with 95 per cent accuracy.

“What we have developed is a very versatile smart chip that can process data, analyse patterns and spot the difference,” Prof. Basu said.

Currently, neural implants when embedded in the brain need to be connected by wires to an external device outside the body.

For a prosthetic patient, the neural implant is connected to a computer that decodes the brain signals so the artificial limb can move.

These external wires are not only cumbersome but the permanent openings which allow the wires into the brain increase the risk of infections. The new chip can allow the transmission of brain data wirelessly and with high accuracy.

“The chip is about a hundred times more efficient than current processing chips on the market. It will lead to more compact medical wearable devices, such as portable ECG monitoring devices and neural implants,” Prof. Basu explained. — IANS

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