Our cybernetic implant options draw nearer (and more intelligent) –
The Caltech team has designed a system that would make the procedure more predictable by attaching a tiny MEMS-based motor to each electrode on a multichannel electrode array and using an algorithm to direct the electrodes to individual neurons. The MEMS part is still a work in progress, but the software algorithm has been worked out and tested in Caltech neuroscience labs.
As the electrodes are driven into the tissue, the software starts taking sample recordings to detect spikes of electrical activity at the electrode tip. When the software detects spikes, it moves forward in small increments and tracks how the signals change. After determining whether the signal has improved or gotten worse, it the algorithm moves the electrode to a new position and does more recording and comparing, driving the electrode in further if necessary until it finds the best signal. If the signal wanes, the algorithm will automatically adjust the electrode position to improve the signal.
Hmm, self-adjusting electrodes – If this keeps up, I may get my ‘Computer-Neurological-Control’ milling machine after all. – A robotic brain-computer interface