Brain-Computer Interfaces

Neurons in a Dish: Scientists at the Potter Lab have found that blobs of neurons cultured in a dish spontaneously generate hierarchical structures of periodic activity with population-wide spatiotemporal structure demonstrating oscillations. Certain patterns persist for hours, implying that perhaps that such in vitro neural preparations could be used to store memories.

Nerve Stump Interface: Horch and Dhillon have found that stimulation by electrodes implanted into the peripheral nerve stumps of amputees allow amputees to feel graded, discrete touch sensations in the phantom hand, and recorded motor neurons in the nerve stump can be used to set grip force and position in an artificial arm.

Re-assigning a Nerve: Kuiken has pioneered a technique in which remaining peripheral nerves that would have sent fibers to stimulate muscles in and transmit sensory information from an amputated limb, can be surgically moved within the body to an intact muscle, such as the pectoralis major. A small patch of this muscle ends up serving as a biopotential amplifier for the nerve stump, such that gross EMG signals from the newly reinnervated muscle patch can be used as myoelectric signals. Furthermore, when the skin overlying the patch is touched, the amputee experiences it as if the absent limb were being touched,

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