Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 301

Battelle-Led Team Wins DARPA Award to Develop Injectable, Bi-Directional Brain Computer Interface

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 23 Mag 2019

Battelle has for years successfully demonstrated brain-computer interface (BCI) projects—just look at NeuroLife®, which has enabled a quadriplegic man to move his hand again using his thoughts. Now, the government’s forward-thinking Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract to a Battelle-led team that pushes researchers into the realm of what was once considered science fiction.
Imagine this: A soldier puts on a helmet and uses his or her thoughts alone to control multiple unmanned vehicles or a bomb disposal robot. That’s the basis for this effort for DARPA’s Next-Generation Non-Surgical Neurotechnology (N3) program. The N3 program seeks development of high-performance, bi-directional brain-machine interfaces for able-bodied service members. Most of the current BCI research, including Battelle’s NeuroLife technology, focuses on helping people with disabilities who must undergo invasive implant procedures, including brain surgery, to enable a BCI that can restore lost function. For the next BCI leap, in which the technology can be used by healthy military service members, it’s imperative to find lower-risk and less-invasive options.
It’s a path Battelle Senior Research Scientist Gaurav Sharma has already begun to navigate. Heavily involved for years with the NeuroLife project, Sharma began to develop ideas for non-surgical BCI options. The DARPA N3 program provides the opportunity to further develop them.Battelle’s N3 concept for a minimally invasive neural interface system, called BrainSTORMS (Brain System to Transmit Or Receive Magnetoelectric Signals), involves the development of a novel nanotransducer that could be temporarily introduced into the body via injection and then directed to a specific area of the brain to help complete a task through communication with a helmet-based transceiver. Upon completion, the nanotransducer will be magnetically guided out of the brain and into the bloodstream to be processed out of the body.The nanotransducer would use magnetoelectric nanoparticles to establish a bi-directional communication channel with the brain. Neurons in the brain operate through electrical signals. The magnetic core of the nanotransducers would convert the neural electrical signals into magnetic ones that would be sent through the skull to the helmet-based transceiver worn by the user. The helmet transceiver could also send magnetic signals back to the nanotransducers where they would be converted to electrical impulses capable of being processed by the neurons, enabling two-way communication to and from the brain.

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