A fiber optic interface in our nervous system

A fiber optic interface in our nervous system

Nervous system technology is making huge headways The Dallas-based Southern Methodist University, in cooperation with the US Department of Defense, is working on a research project to improve the life of those who have received a prosthetic limb after having their own amputated due to illness or wounds.

How Can Nervous System Technology Be Aided By Fiber Optics

The project is aimed at establishing a high speed communication between peripheral nerves and the prosthetic limb, to make it possible that it acquires a certain level of sensitivity which would allow it to recognize heat, cold or any pressure variations it may be subject to.

This is made possible thanks to a nervous system technology called neurophotonics, which allows communication between the nervous system and ultra thin fiber optics which provide a high speed connection, and that one day might allow the limbs to communicate directly with the human brain and no longer with peripheral regions of the human CNS.

In fact, for the future, SMU researchers are working not only on communication between the nervous system and artificial implants, but also to help patients with other types of dysfunctions: just think of the possibility to create microscopic brain implants which can solve several problems, such as reducing uncontrolled tremor on limbs, or reducing chronic pain thanks to neuro-modulators, and so on.

In the future, to quote from one of the researchers, “human brain capabilities might be greatly enhanced by the speed provided by modern technology”. Honestly speaking, although technology can surely help fighting illnesses of various types, the idea of becoming computerized androids with fiber optics instead of our nerves does not exactly sound too appealing to us…

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