3D printed implants that are capable of linking computer to the brain have been developed by some engineers.

It somehow appears to be impossible to link the human brain to a computer. This seems like something that is only bound to happen in the science fiction world.

However, this is off the lists of the impossibles as an international team of engineers and neuroscientists at the University of Sheffield (UK), St Petersburg State University (Russia) and Technische Universität Dresden (Germany) have employed the power of 3D printing to bring this science fiction scene to life.

A new research published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, by a team directed by Professor Ivan Minev (Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, Sheffield) and Professor Pavel Musienko (St Petersburg State University), have created a prototype neural implant that is capable of developing treatments for problems in the nervous system.

The neural implant was used to stimulate the spinal cord of animal models with issues of spinal cord injuries and can now be employed to createnew treatments for human patients with paralysis.

The evidence of the effectiveness of this technology was revealed in the study to also work out well on the surface of a brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and muscles, hence opening chances in other neurological conditions.

This technology gives hope of considerable ability to generate new medical treatments for injuries to the nervous system centered on a fusion of biology and electronics.
The concept of this new technology depends on implants that can grasp and supply tiny electrical impulses in the brain and the nervous system.

The Professor of Intelligent Healthcare Technologies at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, Ivan Minev explained : “The research we have started at TU Dresden and continuing here at Sheffield has demonstrated how 3D printing can be harnessed to produce prototype implants at a speed and cost that hasn’t been done before, all whilst maintaining the standards needed to develop a useful device. The power of 3D printing means the prototype implants can be quickly changed and reproduced again as needed to help drive forward research and innovation in neural interfaces.”

Professor Minev added: “Patients have different anatomies and the implant has to be adapted to this and their particular clinical need. Maybe in the future the implant will be printed directly in the operating theatre while the patient is being prepared for surgery.”

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