17:03 17 May 2017
Chip design giant ARM and US researchers are working on a project to develop chips for people with brain and spinal injuries. The chips will be implanted in the human brain and will sit inside the skull. The project’s goal is to develop a system that will allow people to carry out tasks as well as receive sensory feedback.
The processors for the implant are being developed at the University of Washington’s Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE). An early version of the technology was already developed by researchers.
Peter Ferguson, RM's director of healthcare technologies, said: "They have some early prototype devices. The challenge is power consumption and the heat that generates. They needed something ultra-small, ultra-low power."
The first stage of the project involves designing a “system on a chip” that can transmit signals from the brain to a stimulator implanted in the spinal cord. The goal is to empower patients with neurological or spinal conditions to control their movements. CSNE also wants the device to be able to receive information sent back in the other direction.
"Not only are they trying to read the signals from the brain, but to feed something back into it", Mr Ferguson explained.