Getting a wireless network under the skin to talk to the brain
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are working to develop solutions where the brain will be able to capture sensory impressions from a prosthesis, process them and use them to control movements, almost as if it were a normal hand without having to imbed batteries and wires.
We know for sure that an artificial arm has no feeling sense to help control the arm. One can use sense of sight, but don't have the sense of touch. Researchers are trying to develop a solution that integrates a number of sensors on the arm and hand and sends signals to the part of the brain that processes this type of sensory impression.The idea is to use as much of the body's own systems as possible – and as few artificial parts as possible.
The point is to communicate with the brain without having to imbed any wires in the body. Wires increase the risk of infections. They can get in the way or break. They pose a problem.
Instead, information from the sensors will be sent in the form of microwaves, radio waves through the fat layer that is present under the skin. Our subcutaneous fat lends itself to this since it has less attenuation of electrical signals.. This means that if we can use the fat layer to transmit radio signals, the signal won't lose much strength, so it can be transmitted over longer distance
The signal is received in the brain by an implant that provides electrical stimuli to the relevant centre for processing the "sensory impression".
"hence, the researchers concluded that over time, the brain becomes trained to understand what the signal means. One particular signal might mean 'warm' while another one signifies 'cold'. They currently have good knowledge of how the brain processes this kind of information, and we know how the brain is able to learn to interpret new signals.
Reference: 11/07/2022 The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Dr. Nandita Mohan
BDS, MDS( Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry)