SMU researchers working on fiber optic link to brain for controlling robotic prosthetics and more

Sep 20, 2010
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There are untold numbers of people around the world who have lost the use of their limbs from accident or illness that have new hope of being able to use the limb again thanks to some cool research at SMU. A researcher named Marc Christensen has developed a new fiber optic nerve system that may one day allow for a functional link between the brain and an advanced prosthetic limb.

The research is being funded by DARPA and is looking to perfect the brain prosthetic interface and the program has been granted $5.6 million to continue its research. Allowing the brain to control prosthetics isn’t the only thing the technology has a potential use for. The tech could also be used for other man to machines applications like brain implants to control tremor, neuro-modulators to control chronic pain, and implants for people with spinal cord injuries.

The goal of the project is to develop a compatible link between living tissue and computer technologies to the human nervous system with hundreds or even thousands of sensors embedded in a single fiber optic fiber. The researchers say that the fiber optic tech would not be rejected by the body like other materials and would not be attacked and destroyed by the body's immune system.


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