Feeds

Geordi LaForge video-to-brain rig built at MIT

Small Mexican pigs seem pleased with it

SANS - Survey on application security programs

MIT boffins have devised a method of fitting a chip on the end of the optical nerve which can be used to input electronic images directly into the brain without any need for an eyeball. The technique could offer blind people a degree of vision using head-mounted camera/sensor equipment, in the style of Geordi LaForge from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The new wireless retinal nerve interface from MIT

Video straight to the brain.

The implanted chip, according to the MIT team behind it, features a "microfabricated polyimide stimulating electrode array with sputtered iridium oxide electrodes" which is implanted into the user's retina by a specially-developed surgical technique. There are also "secondary power and data receiving coils".

Once the implant is in place, wireless transmissions are made from outside the head. These induce currents in the receiving coils of the nerve chip, meaning that it needs no battery or other power supply. The electrode array stimulates the nerves feeding the optic nerve, so generating a image in the brain.

The wireless signals, for use in humans, would be generated by a glasses-style headset equipped with cameras or other suitable sensors and transmitters tuned to the coils implanted in the head.

For now, however, the system has only been tried out in Yucatan minipigs. Three of the diminutive Mexican porkers have had the Star Trek/Gibsonesque implants for seven months, but as yet it's difficult to tell just how well they work - as the pigs aren't talking. The MIT boffins have fitted them with instrumented-up contact lenses to try to get an idea of what effects the implants have.

However a new implant design which would be suitable for humans has now been developed. The development team hope to begin trials within three years. They believe that with feedback from test subjects they'll be able to refine the algorithms driving the stimulator array to give useful results - but they don't promise anything like full vision, or anyway not for a long time.

"Anything that could help the blind see a little better and let them identify objects and move around a room would be an enormous help," says Shawn Kelly of MIT's Research Laboratory for Electronics, one of the designers.

Full details of the pig trials and other tests in vitro are to be published next month under the title Development and Implantation of a Minimally Invasive Wireless Subretinal Neurostimulator in the journal IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. The article is also online here for subscribers. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.