Major Advances in Medical Technology: Brain-Machine Interfaces

We’re in a world filled with new technology. Scientists and doctors work every day to figure out new and better methods to cure untouchables such as cancer. A recent technological advance in the medical field might drastically change the life of individuals who have been paralyzed due to brain damage. Brain-machine interfaces, a device that was originally developed at Brown University, are able to attach to the skull of paralyzed individuals and transmit thought commands from the brain to the body. This has the potential to be a life-changing device!

These brain-machine interfaces can transfer data to and from the brain at a rate of 48 megabits per second. That’s as fast as the average high-speed internet connection! In addition to being fast, the device is powered by batteries, which makes it convenient and portable. Unfortunately, the device only has the storage capacity of about 200 DVDs a day. While this seems like a lot, our brains actually transmit a lot more than 200 DVDs worth of information.

 

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Diagram of a demonstration of the brain-machine interface in action.

 

Brain-machine interfaces could be beneficial for individuals with a wide range of disabilities including individuals who are paralyzed. There’s potential for these interfaces to control a robotic arm or help someone steer a wheelchair by using the implants that connect to the nerves of the brain.

The device is currently in the testing stage and the results have not yet been confirmed. It still needs approval from the Food and Drug Administration. It’s important to note that while this technology seems amazing, it’s not the only type of brain-machine. As early as 2010, researchers began working on ways to control the brain in the medical field. While this has the potential to be a great tool, there are other methods making headway. Among these methods includes a much less invasive headset, but they are all still a work in progress. These interfaces are being upgraded and improved to perfection.

So, what do you think? We will be able to fully control the brain in the future?

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