Brown University develops world’s first wireless brain chip

Kevin Lee
9 March, 2013
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Researchers at Brown University have created the world’s first wireless brain-computer interfaces or computer control chips that can be applied directly to your brain. These chips work by essentially broadcasting brain activity as a wireless broadband signal, similar to how a mobile phone works.

Four neural interfaces were implanted in a total of two Yorkshire pigs (a) and two rhesus macaque non-human primates (b).


The scientists tested a series of these 2.2in devices by implanting them into the heads of three pigs and three rhesus monkeys for nearly 16 months. The rechargeable wireless brain sensor proved itself by relaying real-time activity from 100 neurons for up to six hours.

Up until now, most of the brain-computer interfaces we’ve seen have lived just beneath the patient’s skin and require some sort of wired connection. These sort of interface not only look unnatural but they also tie you down to a machine. With a wireless setup, you can move about as you normally would.

The Brown team is working to further miniaturise the device while bumping up the neural data transmission rate beyond 24 Mbps. The team is also working to improve the device’s safety and reliability so that it can someday be used for clinical applications in people with movement disabilities.

[Brown University via The Verge]

By Kevin Lee, TechHive.

Kevin is a small-time tech hound, amateur photographer, and a general know-at-least-something of all things geeky hailing from New York. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @baggingspam

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