Medtronic, a company known for producing deep brain stimulators, is working on a surgically implantable “radio” device capable of monitoring and influencing brain activity. It may be used to ease the symptoms of diseases such as Parkinson’s (shaking), or to reduce severe forms of depression.
Here’s a quote:
“We want to measure the average activity of thousands of brain cells,” said Tim Denison, a senior principal engineer at Medtronic Neurological Technologies, who presented the ISSCC paper. “Essentially we want to build a brain radio that we can tune to the particular frequencies of the patient,” he added.
An article in EETimes goes into some of the challenges they have faced in developing such a device for the brain. It’s short, but interesting: http://eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197005915
Also, remember the “clapper” from the 80′s? You know, Clap-On, Clap-Off?
The Medtronic engineer demonstrated a “brain clapper” that monitored alpha waves to tell when a subject’s eyes were open or closed. By opening and closing his eye in a demo video, Denison was able to turn a light on and off in his lab.
“You won’t see Medtronic marketing a ‘brain clapper’ anytime soon,but you will see us apply this technology to a variety of diseases”
Actually, you could do the same thing with a regular EEG. Below is a screenshot from one of our EEGs. You’ll see how noticeable the alpha spikes are when the eyes are closed
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