Brain Tech Startups Inch Closer to the Mainstream With Implants and Helmets
With the recent influx of venture funds, Brain Tech startups are making a big push into the mainstream with innovative helmets and implants. This technology measures electromagnetic activity in the brain. Electrons flowing in and out of cells create a weak magnetic field, which can change behavior in milliseconds. Kernel technology can detect these fields using tiny magnetometers, allowing scientists to monitor brain activity.
The idea of implanting electrodes into the brain is not new. Scientists have long been interested in the connection between brain activity and computer programs. This connection could be used to control robotic limbs or alter mood or memory. One day, these devices might even allow humans to upload their minds onto machines. But for now, these developments are still on the fringes.
Neuralink is one startup advancing brain-implants into the mainstream. The company hopes to give patients the ability to operate computers through their minds. Yet, some researchers worry about the safety and oversight of the devices. They are also concerned about the risks associated with computer chip viruses and hacked implants.
While the technical breakthroughs in brain-machine interfaces are astounding, there are still major hurdles to be overcome before the technology becomes a mainstream application. For example, there are concerns about safety. Government regulators are also likely to challenge the technology, so the technology needs to improve before it can be used by the public.
Helmets and implants are one way of achieving this goal. While helmets provide a wide-range picture of the brain, implants are more specific and look at specific regions.
The brain imaging helmets and implants from Brain Tech startups are designed to measure brain activity. While helmets provide an overall picture of a person’s brain, implants focus on specific areas, answering more specific questions. The helmets use sensors that are placed close to brain neurons to measure brain activity and relay the information to a computer. The technology could help scientists study brain function, memory formation, and other issues.
The helmet and implant technology being developed by brain tech startups has a long way to go. The implants will have dozens, even thousands, of electrodes. The technology is rapidly evolving, with new materials enabling implant sizes to shrink. Some implant systems will also become wireless.
Implants aren’t the only devices enabling scientists to study brain activity. Helmets can monitor electroencephalograms and measure electromagnetic activity. Electrons that flow in and out of brain cells change the electrical potential and create a weak magnetic field. These fields change behavior in milliseconds. Kernel technology detects these weak magnetic fields by using tiny magnetometers. This information can then be relayed to a computer. It may help scientists understand brain mechanics and memory formation.
The helmets can be worn by patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease and stroke. Researchers will use the data to improve the methods of therapy. Researchers will use the data to determine which exercises have the highest effect on brain activity.
Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is an innovative treatment that sends electrical impulses to the brain to treat neurological conditions. Some of the latest implantable devices offer personalised stimulation to minimize side effects. For instance, Sapiens Intelligent Leads feature 40 stimulation points that are designed to improve sensitivity and decrease stimulation induced side effects.
The implant is placed under general anesthesia and a tiny incision is made near the collarbone. The implanted neurostimulator is then connected to an extension wire through the neck, chest, and scalp. After insertion, patients must adhere to strict lifting restrictions for at least eight weeks. Patients are given exercises to manage pain during this time.