Neuro-technology Invention: Paralysis

photoFirst off, I apologize for my drawing… I will never be an artist!

  1. My invention is a machine that detects signals from the brain and transforms them into action potentials in the nerves that control muscle movements. It will be attached to neurons through an outside source, a large machine. The machine will eventually get smaller as technology advances in the future. This machine will be made specifically for paralysis patients. Because they are not able to make movements on their own in specific parts of their body, the machine will allow them to do so. It could not, however restore feeling in those areas. The process of allowing a person to move again without control of the central nervous system will use signals from the brain to tell the machine to tell the body to make movements. In order for a person to be able to do so, they must undergo much necessary training. They will learn how to control the machine and tell it to move their body parts.

 

 

  1. Theoretically, this machine will be in the form of a large electric computer attached to a rechargeable battery. This supplies the electricity required to generate action potentials in the nerves that control the muscles. It will be attached through wires and a system of electrodes in the brain, then through electrodes in the peripheral nervous system. These will receive signals from the brain, once the person goes through training to understand how to manipulate the machine with their brain. These signals will be processed in the computer, and electricity will be conducted to the wires that eventually reach out into the peripheral nervous system of the person. These will reach a system of microscopic wires that attach at different points in the muscles. The electricity will allow an action potential to be generated. One disadvantage to this system will be that there will still be limited mobility; not all muscles will be able to be reached, and the machine will control a general muscle area, not specific parts of it. The machine will be on wheels for mobility.

 

  1. In order to make this invention possible, there will need to be extreme advances in human electrode monitoring, and the machine’s electrical branches will need to be created in such a way so that needles are not protruding from everywhere in the person’s brain. With technology today, I believe this will be impossible in the next few years. However, in 100 years give or take, technology and knowledge of the brain will have advanced enough so that this may be possible. It will be difficult to make the entire process so that it is not too much of an obstacle in the rest of the person’s life. Scientists must first find way for electrodes to detect signals from all regions of the brain with such a miniscule instrument. Then those signals will travel to the machine that will process the information. The machine will need to tell the cells how to regulate the sodium and potassium levels in order to fire off an action potential. If more than one action potential needs to be fired off, the machine will tell the cells.

 

3 responses to “Neuro-technology Invention: Paralysis”

  1. Elbert Y. Gong says:

    I can’t wait for this to be invented. I like your estimate of 100 years because it is definitely a challenging technology to perfect. Doing something like walking involves something like 200 different muscles, so it is quite complicated to figure out which neurons to stimulate.

  2. Aiswarya Nagasubramony says:

    Very interesting invention, and well thought out response. It would be really beneficial to a lot of people.

  3. Carlos Aizenman says:

    This is precisely the direction some of this BCI research is heading towards. Controlling the muscles precisely and with proper coordination will be a tricky bit, as you learned from that QWOP game in the neural circuits unit.

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