Monitoring internal nerves, muscles and organs in real time used to be figment of imagination in the medical field. But not anymore as engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed sensors the size of a dust that can do just that. It’s called Neural Dust.
This is considered to be the first dust-sized wireless sensor implantable inside the body. It has no battery requirement but can stimulate nerves and muscles, hence can treat disorders that include epilepsy. It can also stimulate the immune system or lower inflammation.
Source: UC Berkeley
The experiment was done with rats wherein the neural dust was placed in their muscles and peripheral nerves. The system uses ultrasound, which compared to radio waves, can reach and penetrate within the human body. Hence, the speck can power and read measurements. But ultrasound technology is not at all new as it is already being developed for treating hospice patients.
With this technology being so small and traversable around the human body, one of the main two authors of the study Michel Maharbiz, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, believes that long term prospects for neural dust are not only within the nerves and the brain but much broader – it can go around the nerve or an organ like a GI tract or a muscle and read out data.
Source: UC Berkeley
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