plugging into the nervous system, nueroengineering,
Researchers have built a kind of adapter plug in rats that allows them to connect living nerves on one end with electrically conductive filaments on the other. If all goes well, they will eventually use such biohybrid bridges to link up the severed nerves in a human being in such a way that a prosthetic device can move and feel like a natural hand.
Creating a “living bridge” between the peripheral nervous system of a human being and a prosthetic device will require several steps. First, scientists will direct laboratory-grown nerves (green) to grow at the edge of electrically conductive microfilaments (gray). Then the neurons will be gently pulled apart, causing the axons to stretch. After the bridge is placed near the stump, the host axons (red) will extend across the bridge, allowing signals to flow back and forth between the brain, spinal cord and artificial limb.
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