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Medicine Biotech Science

Brain Electrodes That Screw On the Skin 58

An anonymous reader writes "New Scientist says that attaching electrodes to the skin for monitoring brain activity (for example when 'installing brain implants that can allow disabled people to control machines using their mind') is tricky, especially on a hairy scalp, so the new solution from the University of Pittsbugh is an electrode that screws into the skin: its 'teeth dig into the upper layer of skin and become fixed in place, maintaining good electrical contact.' They say that the thing 'should be pain-free.' (Note: it does not go through the skull!)"
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Brain Electrodes That Screw On the Skin

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  • Umm, infection? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @06:39PM (#26083745)

    Captain Obvious flies in and reminds everyone: Anything that penetrates the skin dramatically increases the risk of infection, and early signs of a skin infection would be covered by hair on the scalps. Up, up and awaaaaaay...

  • Re:Screwed Into Skin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anti_Climax ( 447121 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @07:23PM (#26084361)

    I just had a 6mm screw threaded into my jawbone through the gum tissue this morning. It's not the first they've done. Some local when they put it in and some aspirin over the next day. Definitely not a big deal - I'd imagine that something just penetrating the first layer of skin on the scalp is a cakewalk compared.

    I'd bet if you asked someone getting a prosthesis that uses this for control, they'd opt for the small pain up front for screws similar to mine than to shave bits of hair off for a solid connection with normal pads.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11, 2008 @08:37PM (#26085105)

    who works on developing new electrodes there. They use monkeys for their experiments, and are working on all kinds of cool stuff- the ultimate goal is rejection-free permanent electrodes for humans, I think I remember him saying.

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