A smart chip, which has been designed by the scientists, including one of Indian origin at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, can be coupled with neural implants to enable the wireless transmission of brain signals and with utmost efficiency.
The chip can help fight against Parkinson’s disease or help paraplegic patients to move their prosthetic limbs, the scientists reported.
An external device outside the body is connected to neural implants with the help of wires. In the case of a prosthetic patient, the neural implant is attached to a computer, which decodes the signals of a brain to allow for the movement of artificial limbs.
Arindam Basu, the assistant professor at NTU’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, stated that his team of researchers has tested the chip on data recorded from the models of animals, which proved that it could decipher the brain’s codes to the fingers and hand with almost 95 percent precision.
Basu further said that this newly developed chip is a hundred times more effective than current processing chips in present in the marketplace. It will give birth to more compact medical wearable apparatuses like portable ECG neural implants and monitoring devices as they would no longer require big batteries to power them.
To gain high precision in decoding signals of a brain, implants need thousands of raw data channels. In order to wirelessly send out this large amount of data, more power is also required, which implies either more frequent recharging or the need for bigger batteries.
However, this is not possible as space inside our brain is limited for implants whereas frequent recharging implies that the implants cannot be used for a longer period of time for recording brain signals.
Rather than expanding the source of power to support the raw data transmission, Basu tried to bring down the total amount of data, which needs to be transmitted.
The smart chip designed with a driving aim to make it extremely power-efficient will help analyse and decipher thousands of signals from neural implants in the brain before condensing the outcomes and transmitting it wirelessly to a small external receiver.
This smart chip is developed to study patterns of data and make out any unusual or abnormal patterns.
For instance, the chip can be programmed in a remote video camera to transmit a video back to the servers only when a particular car type or something out of the ordinary is identified such as a trespasser. Thus, it will be highly advantageous for the Internet of Things (IOT), where all electronic and electrical devices are connected to the Internet with the help of this smart chip.
This chip can help the devices to examine and process the data on the site, before transmitting back important information in a compressed package rather than transmitting the complete data stream. This will decrease the data usage by more than a thousand times.