Published in Processors

ARM wants to put a chip in your brain

by on18 May 2017

It is not as if you are using it

Chip manufacturer ARM is pairing with the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) at the University of Washington to develop a line of brain-implantable systems-on-a-chip.

Apparently one of the main challenges facing prosthetic development today is the lack of sensory feedback. It is possible to make bionic arms but the ability for a prosthetic appendage to transmit sensory information back to its user is pretty pants.

ARM will be using its Cortex-M0 processor which it aims to use as an early prototype device.

ARM's director of healthcare technologies, Peter Ferguson, told the BBC: "The challenge is power consumption and the heat that generates. They needed something ultra-small, ultra-low power."

These chips are designed to act as intermediaries. They'll work to decode the complex signals emanating from the brain and transcribe them into digital signals that computers can understand, and vice versa.

It's a more permanent version of what researchers at Braingate2 and the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) centre have already developed.

It's also a more direct connection than what the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and Ossur created, both of which rely on the patient's peripheral nervous system.

ARM hopes that these chips will eventually to help patients suffering from everything from seizures to Parkinson's disease, spinal injuries to strokes.

Last modified on 18 May 2017
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