London: Scientists have developed graphene electrodes that can be implanted in the brain to control robotic arms in amputees or help restore sensory functions in patients with motor disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.
By interfacing directly between the brain and the outside world we can now harness and control some of its functions, researchers said For instance, by measuring the brain’s electrical impulses, sensory functions can be recovered. “For the first time we interfaced graphene to neurons directly,” said Laura Ballerini of the University of Trieste in Italy.
“We then tested the ability of neurons to generate electrical signals known to represent brain activities, and found that the neurons retained their neuronal signalling properties unaltered,” Ballerini said. “This is the first function al study of neuronal synaptic activity using uncoated graphene based materials,” she said. This can be used to control robotic arms for amputee patients or any number of basic processes for paralysed patients -from speech to movement of objects in the world around them.
Alternatively, by interfering with these electrical impulses, motor disorders (such as epilepsy or Parkinson’s) can start to be controlled.