Graphene Electrodes Could Control Robotic Arms

Monday, February 01, 2016

Graphene Coordination

A work published in the journal ACS Nano reports of a new research in which, scientists have developed graphene electrodes that can be implanted in the brain to control robotic arms in amputees or help restore sensory functions in patients with motor disorders such as the Parkinson’s disease. The electrode was developed in collaboration with nanotechnologists, chemists, biophysicists, neurobiologists and scientists from the University of Trieste, University of Castilla–La–Mancha and Cambridge Graphene Centre.

Scientists during the project discovered that by interfacing directly between the brain and the outside world, they can harness and control some of its functions. For instance, by measuring the brain’s electrical impulses, sensory functions can be recovered. This technique can be used to control robotic arms in amputee patients or to control speech to the movement of the objects in their surroundings.

Researchers achieved this breakthrough by developing electrodes that can be placed deep inside within the brain. These electrodes connect directly to the neurons and transmit electrical signals. At present, the coordination between neurons and electrodes are difficult due to the electrodes’ rigid nature. Scientists solved this problem by inducing graphene that has excellent flexibility, conductivity, biocompatibility and stability.

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