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DARPA Develops Neural-Recording Device; Doug Weber Comments

DARPAThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has developed a new neural-recording device built to repurpose stent technology to gather neural data in a less invasive manner.

DARPA’s stentrode is designed for delivery via catheter angiography to pass through a blood vessel in the neck and guided with real-time imagery to reach a certain area in the brain, the agency said Monday.

“DARPA has previously demonstrated direct brain control of a prosthetic limb by paralyzed patients fitted with penetrating electrode arrays implanted in the motor cortex during traditional open-brain surgery,” said Doug Weber, program manager for DARPA’s Reliable Neural-Interface Technology program.

“By reducing the need for invasive surgery, the stentrode may pave the way for more practical implementations of those kinds of life-changing applications of brain-machine interfaces,” Weber added.

The Vascular Bionics Laboratory research team at the University of Melbourne led by neurologist Thomas Oxley confirmed in a Nature Biotechnology article the high-fidelity brain signal measurement from a study performed on a sheep.

Researchers will conduct the first in-human trial of the device in 2017 at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

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