Intel and Brown University want to use AI to cure paralysis

By TechJuice on
October 5, 2019
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Researchers from Intel and Brown University are looking into using AI to help restore movement to people suffering from paralysis. They’ve launched a two-year program that seeks to develop a new solution to the problem of paralysis caused by damage to the nerves controlling movement. The main problem in such cases is that electrical signals sent from the central nervous system (which includes the brain and the spinal cord) are not able to reach the muscles themselves due to nerve damage somewhere in the middle.

Over these two years, the researchers will gather data in the form of electrical signals from motor and sensory neurons that control muscle movement. They will then devise artificial neural networks that can analyse this data and learn to simulate these electrical signals going both ways, from the central nervous system to the muscles and back. If this is achieved, surgeons will be able to implant electrodes on either side of the nerve damage and create an alternate route for the electrical signals. The electrical signals from the central nervous system, will pass through the electrodes, into the AI system developed by the researchers, which will imitate what the damaged nerves were meant to do, and allow the signal to be carried to the muscles to facilitate movement. Similarly, the feedback signals from the muscles would follow a similar path back to the central nervous system to allow for pain, pressure, etc to be felt by the person.

Taking the cutting edge AI technology available at Intel and combining it with Brown’s extensive medical research capabilities, these researchers are trying to solve one of the most difficult problems in medicine right now. If this ambitious objective is reached, it will mean the difference between a full, independent life and counting on others to get by for millions of people world suffering from paralysis worldwide. 

Source: Intel Newsroom

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