What are neuroprostheses?

Neuroprostheses are artificial devices designed to stimulate the nervous system to modulate, restore, or even generate motor, sensory and autonomic functions. Loss or impairment of these functions can occur because of congenital abnormalities, traumatic brain injury, infection, amputation, or neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Neuroprosthetic devices such as cochlear implants, visual or hippocampal prosthetics, brain-computer interfaces, or even brain-to-brain interfaces are just some of the tools that can enable the bypass, replacement or compensation of dysfunctional neural circuits to allow people to regain or gain control of their thoughts or behaviours.

Future possibilities of neuroprosthesis

Neuroprosthetic research is beginning to overlap with research into Artificial Intelligence (AI). For instance, those in healthcare are working on the design of AI silicon chips that can be implanted into the hippocampal brain region of early stage Alzheimer’s patients (Kuwamoto, 2017). These chips are designed to replace damaged neurons with fully functioning synthetic ones to alleviate the symptoms of dementia.

 

Reference:

Kuwamoto, W. (2017, 23 March). Neuroprosthetics: Augmenting human intelligence with artificial intelligence. NU Sci. Retrieved from https://nuscimag.com/neuroprosthetics-eb7311b10a16

 

 

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