Wirelessly Rechargeable Implant Helps Control Brain Cells

Mar, 2021 - By WMR

Wirelessly Rechargeable Implant Helps Control Brain Cells

 A recently developed brain implant can focus on neural behavior and can be charged wirelessly.

Researchers and collaborators of The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) developed a tiny brain implant that can be wirelessly charged from outside the body to control the brain cells and the battery does not even need a replacement. This implant helps in managing the brain activity and in the long run, can treat diseases such as depression and Parkinson’s disease

The implant uses light to control the neurons. The implant is made up of extra soft and bio-compliant polymers, which provide compatibility for a long term. The device is connected with micrometre sized LEDs that are fixed to very small probes around the thickness of a human hair. This way it can manipulate the neurons situated deep inside the brain through light.

This implant consists of a Bluetooth chip that enables the LED lights to be controlled through a smartphone, transporting programmable patterns that can be modified for specific outcomes. This process was demonstrated by an experiment conducted on rats that were injected with cocaine and the implants were used to reduce the cocaine-induced behaviour.

This new wireless implant challenges the limitations of the currently used implants. Researchers created a tiny circuit that connects a wireless energy harvester with a coil antenna and a Bluetooth low-energy chip. The repetitive magnetic field can enter through the tissues without any problem and generate electricity inside the implant so that the battery gets charged.

Professor Jeong of KAIST says that this unique and powerful device eliminates the need for any painful surgeries required to charge the batteries allowing seamless chronic neuromodulation. At KAIST, researchers believe that similar technology can be used for various implants such as cardiac and gastric pacemakers and deep brain stimulators to lessen the burden on patients in terms of the long term use of implants inside their bodies.

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