Today the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience announced their selection of three research projects to receive $200,000 in funding, with the goal of “advancing the range of tools neuroscientists have to map, monitor, and model brain function.” CNEP faculty Jose Carmena and Michel Maharbiz were awarded to further develop Neural Dust.
Neural Dust: an ultrasonic, low power, extreme miniature technology for completely wireless and untethered neural recordings in the brain
Drs. Carmena and Maharbiz are collaborating to create the next generation of brain-machine interface (BMI) using so-called “neural dust”-implantable, mote-sized, ultrasonic sensors that could eliminate the need for wires that go through the skull, and allow for untethered, real-time wireless cortical recording. While researchers in their labs as well as other colleagues are studying the potential of neural dust technology as applied to muscles and the peripheral nervous system, funding from McKnight will allow researchers to apply the concept to the central nervous system, a method they believe could revolutionize neurology in the same way the pacemaker revolutionized cardiology. Through closed-loop operation of neural dust technology, Carmena and Maharbiz envision a future in which the brain could be trained or treated to restore normal functionality following injury or the onset of neuropsychological illness.