London: Paralytic patients could soon beable to move their bionic legs or arms at will, as scientistsare close to developing a new therapy in which a microchipimplanted in their brain would enable them to sense nervemessages and turn thought into movement. The tiny chips, measuring little more than a centimetrewide, will be able to read a patient`s thoughts and transmitthe information wirelessly to prosthetic limbs.
"If we can get the signals from these neurons andinterpret them with what is called decoding algorithms, thenwe can move a robot device placed on the paralysed arm." Prof Quian Quiroga said that much of the technology isalready available and scientists have demonstrated that"mind-reading" chips implanted into the brains of monkeys canoperate robot arms or move a cursor on a computer screen. However none of these systems has involved wirelesstechnology. Instead, a wire has been inserted through a holedrilled in the animal`s skull. The researchers, who reported their project in journal`The Engineer`, said that transmitting information wirelesslyfrom a brain chip is much more difficult. A single electrode may produce 30,000 data points, oritems of information, per second, and the chip might containhundreds of electrodes. "It`s a huge amount of data, so the bandwidth won`t beenough," said Prof Quian Quiroga. "We`re trying to do some basic processing on the chip toreduce the bandwidth. So instead of 30,000 data points persecond, maybe we`ll be sending 100 data points per second, or1,000." A more ambitious idea is not to use robotic devices butto replace the broken connection to the limb with anartificial link. The brain chip would then send signals to an implantedstimulator in the spinal cord. This would generate electricalimpulses to make muscles contract and move paralysed limbs. But the scientists see a robotic system as more practicalin the short term. The project, part of a 1 million pound Government-sponsored research programme, also involves other groups fromthe University of Newcastle and Imperial College London.PTI
High voter turnout in 5th phase of Lok Sabha polls
FIR against Misa for disturbing poll process
RCB play hard and party hard too: Mallya
Ananth Kumar calls Congress a non-performer across India