By Richard Alleyne
[…] science fact using tiny implants effectively to channel brain-waves to prosthetic limbs.
MicroBridge Services, based at Cardiff University, south Wales, is pioneering work
It is a leader in micro-engineering design and manufacture […] of creating the implants.
The implants are the size of a match head which carries 100 sensors made of extremely hard tungsten carbide which conducts electricity.
The sensors are only slightly thicker than a human hair and sit on the brain picking up nerve impulses to relay to prosthetic limbs.
MicroBridge Services Ltd was set up by Cardiff University to tap the commercial potential of research being done there.
Researchers at Utah University, in the USA, asked the Cardiff company to develop micro-needle array sensors which are durable.
The American team had already been successful developing implants capable of manipulating computers and prosthetic appendages.
But the implants had been made of silicon which proved to be brittle and had a useful life of less than a year.
The micro-needle array needed to be hardy but capable of penetrating deep enough into the brain to pick up electrical signals.
Dr Robert Hoyle, of MicroBridge Services, said the company’s ability to create implants using tungsten carbide was crucial.
Dr Hoyle said the implant works by detecting electrical signals from the brain, amplifying them then transmitting them to produce movements in the prosthetic limbs.
* Special radio show from Alan Watt which includes Aldous Huxley‘s talk on existing brain chips in humans and rats decades ago. Different impulses can make rats turn left or right, make experimental human mental patients happy or sad.