I was planning to hack my dad. We were thinking of using a lego robotics motion sensor wired up to a tongue tickler to give him a constant sense of balance. However, this computer chip from University of Tel Aviv/University of Newcastle etc may be more effective, the real deal not the makerfaire/hackspace version.
An international team of researchers led by Dr. Matti Mintz at the University of Tel Aviv is working on a biomimetic computer chip for brain stimulation that is programmable, responsive to neural activity, and capable of bridging broken connections in the brain. Called the Rehabilitation Nano Chip, or ReNaChip, the device could be used to replace diseased or damaged brain tissue, restore brain functions lost to aging, and even treat epilepsy. The chip is currently in animal testing, but should reach human applications within a few years.
The ReNaChip will significantly improve an existing technology called deep brain stimulation (DBS), a surgical implant that acts as a brain pacemaker for a variety of neurological disorders. DBS delivers electrical stimulation to select areas of the brain via electrodes; for individuals with Parkinson’s, chronic pain, or dystonia, these induced stimulations can significantly alleviate symptoms (e.g. uncontrolled movement). But currently, the stimulation that DBS delivers is constant and unresponsive to brain activity. Because of this, the therapeutic effects are reduced over time. This is where the ReNaChip comes in, making the system responsive to brain activity and fully programmable.
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