Wireless brain implants that melt away.

The Guardian gives my inner paranoid schizophrenic ever more powerful wings to soar with news of a brain-monitoring implant that tracks your nerve impulses for a while and then dissolves:

The new device, developed by a research team that includes engineers, materials scientists, and neurosurgeons in America and South Korea… consists of a pressure and temperature sensor, each one smaller than a grain of rice, integrated on a biodegradable silicon chip that sits on the surface of the brain, and connected to a wireless transmitter attached to the outside of the skull.

The researchers tested the device in rats, and showed that it can monitor intracranial pressure, and the temperature changes that occur as the rats drift in and out of consciousness following administration of an anaesthetic, at least as accurately as existing devices. But this device is unique because its components are made from so-called “green electronics” – natural materials that are fully biodegradable and biocompatible, which are designed to work for a few weeks, and then completely dissolve, over the course of about a day, when immersed in watery fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid.

When they examined the brain tissue afterwards, the researchers found no indication of an inflammatory response, or of scarring around the implantation site, confirming that the device is fully biocompatible. They then modified the device to show that it can also be used to take the same measurements from sites about 5mm below the surface of the rat brain.

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