Skip to main content

This brain implant may help people walk again

brain implants for the handicapped neural array
Photo via Phys.org Image used with permission by copyright holder

Brain implants sound strange, like something out of sci-fi, but they’re closer than you think. Researchers at the A*Star Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore have developed a neural probe array small enough that it can sit inside someone’s brain on a long-term basis without damaging delicate tissue. The probe array is so compact that it can float along with a person’s brain inside their head. Their specialty: helping amputees and people with spinal cord injuries control artificial limbs.

The neural array forms a link between the brain and artificial limbs, allowing someone with an injury to walk or move again. As the technology advances, who knows what else they could allow us to do.

Despite the benefits, neural implants come with risks. The most common way of inserting probes into people’s brains is by drilling holes into the skull to serve as a pathway for electrodes. If things go wrong, patients can develop infections, or even bleed in the brain. 

“A high-profile array may touch the skull and damage the tissue when relative micromotions occur between brain and the probes,“ researcher Ming-Yuan Cheng told Phys.org

To solve this issue, Cheng and his team made the probe array as thin as possible, employing “innovative microassembly” techniques to limit the height of the array to within 750 micrometers, or about 75 percent of a single millimeter. The probe array is implanted in the brain’s subarachnoid space, 1-2.5 millimeter a cavity in the brain between the arachnoid mater and the pia mater of the meninges. These are layers of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Basically, the implants sit right in the middle of our brain’s protective membranes.

Biocompatibility tests conducted with the neural probes have shown that it did not cause cell membranes to rupture nor suppressed cell growth, both of which would be bad. The team will make design tweaks to make the probes fully implantable.

Christian Brazil Bautista
Christian Brazil Bautista is an experienced journalist who has been writing about technology and music for the past decade…
The 45mm model of the Apple Watch Series 9 is $100 off right now
Post-walk fitness data on the Apple Watch Series 9.

There are some fantastic Apple Watch deals going on right now as part of the Memorial Day sales with $100 of the Apple Watch Series 9 at Best Buy. It usually costs $429 but right now, you can buy one for just $329. That’s for the Apple Watch Series 9 45mm Midnight Aluminum Case with Midnight Sport Loop but you can also save $70 and get the watch with a for $329 if you’d prefer. Keen to learn more about the Apple Watch Series 9? Let’s take a look.

Why you should buy the Apple Watch Series 9
The Apple Watch Series 9 is one of the best smartwatches around if you own an iPhone. It’s the perfect assist to place on your wrist. It has a powerful S9 chip which ensures that you can switch between apps super fast without any issue. It also has a gorgeous and superbright always-on display so that you can clearly see what you’re doing.

Read more
Get this Samsung tablet for under $100 for Memorial Day
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite in the hands.

While some of the best tablets can compete with budget laptops in terms of what they can do, that performance comes at a cost that some folks might not need. If you just want something simple for streaming or reading, you don't need to grab the best of the best, and something like the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is perfect for that. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it also has a great early Memorial Day deal on it from Walmart that brings the price down even further. While it usually goes for $159, Walmart is discounting it down to just $99, saving you a whopping $60 in the process.

Why you should buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite
While the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite may not be the best of devices, there's a lot to love about it, such as the fact that you get a pretty solid 8.7-inch for less than $100. It does run a lower 1340 x 800 resolution, but that's not too bad on a smaller screen where you likely won't notice it; plus, it does mean you use less bandwidth to stream content. Interestingly, it also has a fingerprint reader, which is pretty rare on more budget-friendly devices but makes opening and closing the tablet pretty easy.

Read more
If you like Samsung phones, you need to be ready for July 10
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, Galaxy Z Fold 4, and Galaxy Z Flip 5 resting on a table.

Although Samsung hasn't officially announced the date, we've gotten more indications about when the next Samsung Unpacked Event will be held.

According to The Chosun Daily, it's going to be Wednesday, July 10, in Paris. The date has long been rumored, so this latest news is unsurprising. Still, it's good to get confirmation from another source on the same date. At this point, it's all but set in stone that July 10 is the day to look forward to.

Read more