Addressing the biomaterial failure modes for brain computer interfaces
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Neural prostheses, otherwise known as brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), have recently been a hot topic of interest. These neural prostheses have demonstrated the ability to help people regain motor function in many ways. Some examples are using intended movements from the brain to control a prosthetic limb, translating brain activity into commands for those who cannot speak, and studying the brain and its deeper function. One shortcoming of neural prostheses is the foreign body response it stimulates in the brain. When the prosthetic is detected, the brain sends astrocytes, a glial cell in the central nervous system, which encapsulates the object and form a glial scar, which protects the rest of the brain from the foreign body. As a result, the prosthetic is unable to perform, which places a time limit on how long the neural prosthetic would work. Because of this, I will be exploring how neural prostheses can potentially be designed in order to avoid triggering the foreign body response for as long as possible.
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