Thu. Aug 22nd, 2019

Brain cells can now be controlled by scientists using a smartphone and a minute brain implant

A device has been invented by the team of scientists in the United States and Korea which can govern neural circuits by doing a small brain implant which would further be controlled by a smartphone.

It is believed by the researchers who published in Nature Biomedical Engineering that the device has the capability of speeding up the efforts for revealing brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, addiction, and pain.

The device makes use of the powerful Bluetooth low-energy and replaceable drug cartridges which are similar to Legos. It can target certain neurons of interest by the use of light and drug for prolonged periods.

The lead author of the study, Raza Qazi, who is a researcher at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, as well as, University of Colorado Boulder, stated that the wireless neural device enables optical and chronic chemical neuromodulation which has till present never been achieved.

Qazi added that this technology has significantly overshadowed conventional methods employed previously by the neuroscientists. Other than limiting the movement of the subject owing to the physical connections with heavy equipment, their comparatively inflexible structure causes a scratch in soft brain tissue over time, hence making them unsuitable for long term implantation. The previous solutions were confined by their incapacity of delivering drugs for prolonged periods, as well as, their complex and heavy control setups.

In order to achieve delivery of a chronic wireless drug, researchers had to take the plunge of solving the complex challenge of evaporation and exhaustion of drugs. Scientists from the University of Washington in Seattle and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology partnered to invent a neural device which would have a replaceable drug cartridge, and could enable the neuroscientists to study the same brain circuits for a number of months without distressing about the drugs to run out.