The Future of Cyborgs
In this talk, I will provide a glimpse into the future of human-machine interfaces. Neuromodulation devices are implants that interface with the human nervous system to restore lost senses (e.g. hearing, vision), aid with defective muscle function (e.g. urinary incontinence), act as a brain machine interfaces for controlling prosthetics or other devices and take the place of pharmaceuticals by using electrical stimulation to treat disease. A whole new field of endeavour, electroceuticals, has emerged as more and more neuromodulation devices have entered development.
Despite recent amazing demonstrations, implanted neuromodulation devices are not commonplace. There are many remaining challenges, long-term stability of the neural electrode interface, increasing the fidelity and resolution of recorded signals, providing power and data to miniaturized implanted devices that would allow for minimally invasive surgery and hermetic sealing of the implant to protect delicate electronics from degradation from fluids in the body. I will explain how advanced diamond technology is being used to meet some of these challenges, thus facilitating the future adoption of ‘electric medicine.'
Professor Steven Prawer, University of Melbourne