Neural Dust | Elfin Implant | Man to Merge With Machines | "Cyborg-Man-amorphosis"

Neural Dust | Elfin Implant | Man to Merge With Machines | "Cyborg-Man-amorphosis"

NeuralDustImplantTechnologyEveryone is talking about it. We’ve all heard the rumors that man may someday merge with machines. Have you ever wondered if that could really be possible? If so, how would it be done? What would it take to bring such a concept into reality?
The closest thing we can imagine of such an accomplishment brings to mind the Star Trek character known as “Data”. The Cyborg Crew Member that looks like a human but is all machine on the inside. He has a “Positronic Neural Net” which serves as his brain and he can “interface” with the ship’s computer or manually complete laborious tasks in record time with his “bionic” limbs and digits. While this is all fun to imagine in the Sci-Fi world, we tend to get all “fuzzy” with delight when we fantasize about it being realized in the real world.
You may not know how that could be made possible but you might have heard some rumors that it is being “worked on in laboratories” from a friend of a friend of a friend’s uncle or something like that… What would you say if I told you it is a reality today, right now? Yes right this minute, the science is in use and being tested “in laboratories” that will make this “Science Fictional” concept a reality.

The Science Engineers over at UC Berkeley have done just that. Now there is a new sensor, created by the Engineers in the Berkeley Science department which interfaces with the body in real time,  requires no batteries, and is 100% implantable into the human body, subcutaneously that is (under the skin) not just under the skin, but as deep inside the body as an implant would be required to be placed to carry out its functions.
While this technology can be exciting and even fantastical, we have to remember that the “powers that be” are usually of a very opposite mindset than we are. You can always be sure it will not be used for good when they introduce any new technology as if it’s all fairies farting rainbows, riding unicorns to your rescue with a new technological, humanitarian treatment or possible cure which “sounds” non threatening like say “Electroceuticals” (is that even a real word? Head Scratch Emoji01), and so it is a good idea to also consider what “dark reality” this technology can also bring…

Here are some excerpts from various articles on the subject form around the web, the interwebz, not the neural web {{snicker}}.

Sprinkling of neural dust opens door to electroceuticals

University of California, Berkeley engineers have built the first dust-sized, wireless sensors that can be implanted in the body, bringing closer the day when a Fitbit-like device could monitor internal nerves, muscles or organs in real time.

Wireless, batteryless implantable sensors could improve brain control of prosthetics, avoiding wires that go through the skull. Video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally.

Because these batteryless sensors could also be used to stimulate nerves and muscles, the technology also opens the door to “electroceuticals” to treat disorders such as epilepsy or to stimulate the immune system or tamp down inflammation.
The so-called neural dust, which the team implanted in the muscles and peripheral nerves of rats, is unique in that ultrasound is used both to power and read out the measurements. Ultrasound technology is already well-developed for hospital use, and ultrasound vibrations can penetrate nearly anywhere in the body, unlike radio waves, the researchers say.
“I think the long-term prospects for neural dust are not only within nerves and the brain, but much broader,“ said Michel Maharbiz, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and one of the study’s two main authors. “Having access to in-body telemetry has never been possible because there has been no way to put something supertiny superdeep. But now I can take a speck of nothing and park it next to a nerve or organ, your GI tract or a muscle, and read out the data.“nervemote750-410x273
Maharbiz, neuroscientist Jose Carmena, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and a member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, and their colleagues will report their findings in the August 3 issue of the journal Neuron.

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Wireless Recording in the Peripheral Nervous System with Ultrasonic Neural Dust


  • First in vivo electrophysiological recordings with neural dust motes
  • Passive, wireless, and battery-less EMG and ENG recording with mm-scale devices
  • Recorded signals transmitted via ultrasonic backscatter from implanted neural dust motes
  • Ultrasound as a scalable means of providing wireless power and communication


The emerging field of bioelectronic medicine seeks methods for deciphering and modulating electrophysiological activity in the body to attain therapeutic effects at target organs. Current approaches to interfacing with peripheral nerves and muscles rely heavily on wires, creating problems for chronic use, while emerging wireless approaches lack the size scalability necessary to interrogate small-diameter nerves. Furthermore, conventional electrode-based technologies lack the capability to record from nerves with high spatial resolution or to record independently from many discrete sites within a nerve bundle. Here, we demonstrate neural dust, a wireless and scalable ultrasonic backscatter system for powering and communicating with implanted bioelectronics. We show that ultrasound is effective at delivering power to mm-scale devices in tissue; likewise, passive, battery-less communication using backscatter enables high-fidelity transmission of electromyogram (EMG) and electroneurogram (ENG) signals from anesthetized rats. These results highlight the potential for an ultrasound-based neural interface system for advancing future bioelectronics-based therapies.


Figure1Recent technological advances (Boretius et al., 2010, Delivopoulos et al., 2012) and fundamental discoveries (Bhadra and Kilgore, 2005, Pavlov and Tracey, 2012, Rosas-Ballina et al., 2011) have renewed interest in implantable systems for interfacing with the peripheral nervous system. Early clinical successes with peripheral neurostimulation devices, such as those used to treat sleep apnea (Strollo et al., 2014) or control bladder function in paraplegics (Creasey et al., 2001) have led clinicians and researchers to propose new disease targets ranging from diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis (Famm et al., 2013). A recently proposed roadmap for the field of bioelectronic medicines highlights the need for new electrode-based recording technologies that can detect abnormalities in physiological signals and be used to update stimulation parameters in real time. Key features of such technologies include high-density, stable recordings of up to 100 channels in single nerves, wireless and implantable modules to enable characterization of functionally specific neural and electromyographic signals, and scalable device platforms that can interface with small nerves of 100 μm diameter or less (Birmingham et al., 2014) as well as specific muscle fibers. Current approaches to recording peripheral nerve activity fall short of this goal; for example, cuff electrodes provide stable chronic performance but are limited to recording compound activity from the entire nerve. Single-lead intrafascicular electrodes can record from multiple sites within a single fascicle but do not enable high-density recording from discrete sites in multiple fascicles (Lefurge et al., 1991). Similarly, surface EMG arraysFigure2 allow for very-high-density recording (Lapatki et al., 2004, Martinez-Valdes et al., 2016) but do not capture fine details of deep or small muscles. Recently, wireless devices to enable untethered recording in rodents (Lee et al., 2013, Szuts et al., 2011) and nonhuman primates (Foster et al., 2014, Schwarz et al., 2014, Yin et al., 2014), as well as mm-scale integrated circuits for neurosensing applications have been developed (Biederman et al., 2015, Denison et al., 2007, Muller et al., 2015). However, most wireless systems use electromagnetic (EM) energy coupling and communication, which becomes extremely inefficient in systems smaller than ∼5 mm due to the inefficiency of coupling radio waves at these scales within tissue (Rabaey et al., 2011, Seo et al., 2013; see also Size Scaling and Electromagnetics in the Supplemental Information). Further miniaturization of wireless electronics platforms that can effectively interface with small-diameter nerves will require new approaches.

Figure4In contrast to EM, ultrasound offers an attractive alternative for wirelessly powering and communicating with sub-mm implantable devices (Charthad et al., 2015, Larson and Towe, 2011, Meng and Sahin, 2013, Ozeri and Shmilovitz, 2010, Seo et al., 2014). Ultrasound has two advantages. First, the speed of sound is 105 × lower than the speed of light in water, leading to much smaller wavelengths at similar frequencies; this yields excellent spatial resolution at these lower frequencies as compared to radio waves. Second, ultrasonic energy attenuates far less in tissue than EM radiation; this not only results in much higher penetration depths for a given power, but also significantly decreases the amount of unwanted power introduced into tissue due to scattering or absorption. In fact, for most frequencies and power levels, ultrasound is safe in the human body. These limits are well defined, and ultrasound technologies have long been used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. As a rough guide, about 72× more power is allowable into the human body when using ultrasound as compared to radio waves (Food and Drug Administration, 2008, International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety, 2006).Figure3

We previously introduced the neural dust ultrasonic backscattering concept to harness the potential advantages of ultrasound and showed that, theoretically, such a system could be scaled well below the mm-scale when used for wireless electrophysiological neural recording (Seo et al., 2013, Seo et al., 2014). Here, we present the first experimental validation of a neural dust system in vivo in the rat peripheral nervous system (PNS) and skeletal muscle, reporting both electroneurogram (ENG) recordings from the sciatic nerve and electromyographic (EMG) recordings from the gastrocnemius muscle. The neural dust system consists of an external ultrasonic transceiver board which powers and communicates with a millimeter-scale sensor implanted into either a nerve or muscle (Figure 1A). The implanted mote consists of a piezoelectric crystal, a single custom transistor, and a pair of recording electrodes (Figures 1B, 1C, and S1).

During operation, the external transducer alternates between (1) emitting a series of six 540-ns pulses every 100 μs and (2) listening for any reflected pulses. The entire sequence of transmit, receive, and reconstruction events are detailed…

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Well I hope you found this article informative and this new discovery to be as fascinating as I did. While at the same time I personally also find this to be disturbing and terrifying technology, because as you well know, DARPA is not our friend and you can imagine what the “true” nefarious purposes are, which this will be made to serve. Something to think about…
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