To date, we are able to develop technologically advanced bionic prostheses, to take control of motors to unlock a set of mechanical movements just by thought.
But there is a big obstacle: our understanding of how our brain works is just beginning, and human-machine interfaces are currently not able to combine precision, multiplication of functionality and durability.
The size of these neural interfaces, which pick up the electrical signals emitted by the brain to communicate them to a machine which interprets them in the form of a command transmitted to a prosthesis, remains too large and requires an invasive intervention which can cause damage to the patient. .
Another obstacle: these sensors are often rigid and they deteriorate according to movements. On the other hand, even with a reduced size, human tissues end up integrating them until blocking the signal.
The MIT has however been able to find the solution: an implant in the form of a flexible fiber having several channels allowing the transit of chemicals, electricity or light. These nanoscopic implants could not only make it possible to deliver certain molecules with precision, but also to offer light stimulation (which proves to be particularly effective in certain treatments of degenerative disease), or more generally, to serve as electrodes allowing to connect more and more parts from a brain to a machine.
The flexibility of the material and its properties make it an ideal candidate for long stays in the body. This would make it possible to permanently install bionic prostheses, or even to envisage long-term treatments on certain patients.
Production of this fiber remains slow at present, but it should allow researchers to continue their trials on treatments for parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders.