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New ultra-small carbon-fiber electrode material allows for better connections in the human brain

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Carbon thread only 7 nanometers wideWhen it comes to implanting material in the brain, smaller is better as small contaminants are essentially “ignored” by the body’s immune system.  As such, researchers have developed a new “stealthy neural interface” made from a single carbon fiber thread only 7 micrometers wide and coated with chemicals to make it resistant to proteins in the human brain. This new microthread material is designed to pick up signals from a single neuron as it fires and is 100 times smaller than the material currently used in animal brains.

According to Technology Review:

“Researchers need long-lasting electrodes in order to improve brain-machine interfaces. These systems, in preliminary studies, have allowed paralyzed people to control robotic limbs or a computer mouse. By using electrodes to record the firing of individual brain cells, scientists have learned to decode these signals as representing the movement of a rat’s whiskers or a quadriplegic’s effort to move his arms.”