Tiny smart chip to combat chronic pain

By : |December 20, 2010 0

LONDON: A revolutionary new smart chip, the size of a match head implanted in the spinal cord, blocks pain signals and prevents them from reaching the brain.

The tiny device works by monitoring the nerves carrying pain signals and firing electrical pulses of up to 10 volts that block the undesirable signals from reaching the brain.

The Implantable Neuro Sensing and Stimulation or INS2 was developed between 2008 and 2010 by National ICT Australia (NICTA) in Sydney. It will undergo human trials from beginning of the next year.

Existing pain-relief implants are the size of a matchbox. Researchers said their miniature version would be far more effective and reliable because it can be implanted much closer to the spine, reports the Daily Mail.

The tiny new implant consists of two smart chips built into a device that is sewn into a material container with integrated electronic wires, according to a NICTA statement.

The device is implanted on the target nerve such as the spinal cord and is operated by an internal computer processor run by a battery the size of a SIM card. It can be recharged wirelessly so there is no need for any external wires.

The INS2 can be ‘fine-tuned’ to manage different levels of pain. NICTA is planning to form a new company in Sydney, Saluda Medical, to commercialize the implant.

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