Although neural implants play a vital role in monitoring or stimulating parts of the brain, the body’s immune system often attacks them. The new device solves this problem because it is very soft and is implanted with a needle made of sugar.
Brain implants are relatively flexible, but still much harder than natural brain tissue. The body considers them to be foreign bodies, which causes an inflammatory reaction and the appearance of scar tissue on them. As a result, this interferes with their functioning.
In search of an alternative, scientists from McGill University in Canada have created a silicone implant, officially called “the softest brain implant in history.” It is delivered to the body using a thin needle about 0.2 mm thick. As the authors of the development explain, its consistency resembles a soft pudding.
Since this is an implant, it is very soft and fragile. Routine surgical procedures can damage it. The researchers avoided this problem by placing it in a sugar needle. First, the sugar was melted, then molded, and finally allowed to solidify in the shape of a needle. Then, scientists injected liquid silicone into the cavity of the needle, and when it hardened, an implant was formed.
The implants are so soft that the body does not perceive them as a serious threat. It can interact with the brain with the least interference.
Further research will focus on equipping implants with electronics so that they can perform their actual functions.