Brain implants sound strange, like something out of sci-fi, but they’re closer than you think. Researchers at the A*Star Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore have developed a neural probe array small enough that it can sit inside someone’s brain on a long-term basis without damaging delicate tissue. The probe array is so compact that it can float along with a person’s brain inside their head. Their specialty: helping amputees and people with spinal cord injuries control artificial limbs.
The neural array forms a link between the brain and artificial limbs, allowing someone with an injury to walk or move again. As the technology advances, who knows what else they could allow us to do.
Despite the benefits, neural implants come with risks. The most common way of inserting probes into people’s brains is by drilling holes into the skull to serve as a pathway for electrodes. If things go wrong, patients can develop infections, or even bleed in the brain.