Researchers in Barcelona have found a new grapheme based implant to map the brains activity below 0.1 Hz of frequency. The prototype created at Barcelona Microelectronics Institute will help in understanding the brains activity exponentially.
For decades researchers were using electrode arrays to map the activity in the various parts of the brain. The electrode arrays were helpful in understanding which areas of the brain are active when a particular activity was being performed and which areas were silent. But a limitation to this technology was that this could only detect frequencies over certain threshold. This limited the scope of understanding brains working at subtle frequencies. The new technology has paved the way for understanding brains working below the frequency of 0.1 Hz.
The technology was invented as a collaboration project involving Barcelona Microelectronics Institute, CIBER in Bioengineering, Catalan Institute of Nano sciences and Nanotechnology, August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute. The Technology by using a transistor based architecture amplifies low frequencies before they are transmitted to the receiver, this technology will do away the existing electrode array method of brain’s activity mapping.
Graphene being flexible and slim will enable the use of implants in various parts of brain earlier unexplored by the electrode array method of mapping. Information on Many new regions of brain will be available by this technology’s application. For neurologists this is good news as hearing and understanding subtle whispers of the brain will be possible for the first time with the new technology. Unprecedented insights are awaited by academia and researchers alike on such matters like the origins of seizure and effective diagnosis and treatment for conditions like epilepsy by the full throttle application of this technology.
The technique where a large number are recording sites are explored by using transistor configuration is called multiplexing strategy. A European project BrainCom, is using the same technique to restore communication and speech in patients. The project is working on creating new array of brain-computer interfaces to repair high level of cognitive functions focusing particularly on speech disorders caused by spinal cord or brain injuries.
Graphene has shown promising applications in medical implants field, with news reports in April 2018 breakthrough innovation where vertical; grapheme could be used to kill bacteria while surgery and stop further infection. When the flakes were added to the surface of the implant Graphene hindered bacterial infection during the surgery. This and other interesting applications of Graphene has shown promising future for nanotechnology applications in medicine and medical implants.