This month, DARPA announced that a research team has developed a neural-recording device that can be implanted through blood vessels like a stent. This device was created with the funding of DARPA’s Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program.
The new technology allows electrode arrays to be placed in the brain via blood vessels, rather than through surgical procedures that require opening the skull. The device is expected to go into human trials in 2017 at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
While this device has important implications for biotechnology, it’s also exciting to imagine the impact that such breakthroughs may have on future human/machine interfaces. We may one day reach a point where it is possible to control remote machines through neural activity, allowing machine operators to work in sterile or dangerous environments. It may also soon be possible to implant computer chips more easily to make use of biometric data or alert us to potential health issues.
As always, security should be a top concern when researching and developing such technology.
In the near future, this technology may be used to help patients interface with prosthetic limbs or overcome neurological disorders.