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Electronic chips replace motor functions

Tuesday, 7 February 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Faulty parts of living brains have been replaced by electronic chips in an astonishing breakthrough at an Israeli university.

 

Tel Aviv University has created circuits that can replace motor functions – such as blinking – and implanted them into the skulls of brain-damaged rats, restoring capacity for movement.

 

This could help people suffering from brain malfunctions such as Parkinson’s disease by replacing damaged or malfunctioning tissue with chips that perform the same function.

 

“Imagine there’s a small area in the brain that is malfunctioning, and imagine that we understand the architecture of this damaged area,’ Professor Matti Mintz says.

 

“We try to replicate this part of the brain with electronics.”

 

Mintz has already successfully implanted a robotic cerebellum into the skull of a rodent with brain damage, restoring its capacity for movement.

 

What other technologies could be developed to alleviate patients’ suffering?