The prospect of brain-computer interface (BCIs) offer the medical sphere a revolutionary approach to current obstacles including, high resolution mapping of neural regions, restoration of sensory functions and treatment of various cognitive disorders. To develop a BCI of such versatility, achieving scalability, biocompatibility, electrode density and a high bandwidth are primary hurdles to be overcome; thus proving the nature of neural interfaces to be an interdisciplinary challenge, requiring a driven approach alongside an ensemble of various scientific and engineering expertise. The purpose of this post is to outline current BCI functions with potential future applications to expand the prospects of medicine whilst simultaneously accelerating the advent of human evolution.
As stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), neurological disorders are the second leading cause of death, with an estimated annual mortality rate of 9 million and affecting up-to one billion people internationally. The fundamental conditions impacting the wellbeing and quality of lives of people are – but not limited to, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and motor neuron disorder however, with technology continuing to advance at an exponential rate, clinical applications of BCIs are in the process of being utilised to treat patients suffering from the aforementioned conditions. Various U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved in vivo neuroprosthetics are currently in practice, for example, the Michigan and Utah arrays adopt deep brain stimulation methods to modulate the neural function of those afflicted by neurodegenerative disorders – primarily Parkinson’s disease.
Whilst BCIs possess the potential to enhance the medical field in numerous means; such as brain mapping, bionic prosthetic compatibilities and reversal of paralysis, such interfaces must initially establish themselves as capable of the most fundamental BCI principles; to electrically evoke and record compound action potentials. In order to achieve greater resolutions of data readings, invasive methods of neural interfacing are required, and made possible through the utilisation of micro-electrode arrays.
Though the biological engineering of the human body remains incomprehensibly impressive, the 21st century has presented an array of opportunities to improve the wellbeing of those who suffer from physical disabilities, terminal diseases and neurodivergency through the development of neural and bionic prosthetics. To fulfill such an intricate notion, it is vital to assemble a team of remarkably skilled engineers, scientists and visionaries with a shared drive to take on the challenge of developing technologies and improve the world we live in. Our initial plan is to design and engineer an embeddable wireless micro-neuroprosthesis prototype with the medical applications of recording and triggering action potentials in real-time within the cortex of the brain. This will establish a basis, upon which artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms in later iterations will possess the ability to analyse neural activity, regulate chemical imbalances and support external devices such as bionics and mobile phones.
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