We have seen experiments like those that let a paralyzed people swig drinks using a robotic arm or that let blind people “see” spots of light, have proved that computers are capable of interfacing with the human brain. But the implanted electrodes were used in trials and eventually became useless as scar tissue forms and degrades the electrical connection to the brain cells.
Harvard Medical School is testing new technology and design of a brain implant that meant to restore vision to the blind.Tests will begin next month in monkeys of a new brain implant for transfering data into the brain that designed to avoid that problem. The aim of this project is to restore vision to blind people in a long-term.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School will be using a really new kind of implant that will go below the skull, instead of penetrating inside the organ, these implants can rest on the surface of Human/Animal’s brain. An array of nanoscopic coils inside the hair-like device will generate powerful and highly targeted magnetic fields to induce electrical activity at particular locations in the brain tissue.
Implants will be used to simulate visual cortex of monkey to try and re-create the activity normally triggered by signals from the eyes of monkeys. The goal of using these implants to convert signals from a camera into brain activity.
“At the end of that we hope to have monkeys be able to navigate a maze, just by perceiving light and dark or basic geometric patterns,” says Bernard Casse, a researcher at the PARC research institute, where the new implant design was invented.
This experiment will run of three- years and the three-year project is supported by a multi-million dollar grant under the BRAIN initiative, created by Ex-President Obama to improve scientists’ understanding of how the brain works.