by Ian Johnston, The Independent
A tiny implant the size of a grain of sand has been created that can connect computers to the human body without the need for wires or batteries, opening up a host of futuristic possibilities.
The devices, dubbed “neural dust”, could be used to continually monitor organs like the heart in real time and, if they can be made even smaller, implanted into the brain to control robotic devices like prosthetic arms or legs.
It is believed they could help treat conditions like epilepsy by stimulating nerves and muscles, help people with incontinence control their bladder and even suppress appetite. They could also potentially either be used to prompt the immune system into action or reduce inflammation.
One of the inventors, Professor Michel Maharbiz, of University of California, Berkeley, said: “I think the long-term prospects for neural dust are not only within nerves and the brain, but much broader.
© 2016 The Independent