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PEDOT Polymer Could Enhance Brain-Machine Interfaces

Tired of using complicated computer interfaces - all those tedious screens and buttons, all that finger-twiddling?

Why not just hook up?

What material would companies like Neuralink use to connect electronics with human tissue?

One potential solution was recently revealed at the American Chemical Society's Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo. A team of researchers from the University of Delaware presented a new biocompatible polymer coating that could help devices better fuse with the brain.

One major problem with implanting any kind of device into the body is scarring. Materials like gold, silicon, and steel tend to damage tissue when implanted. That's why David Martin, an associate dean at the University of Delaware's College of Engineering, and his colleagues have spent years studying a polymer called poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), or PEDOT.

PEDOT has already helped to improve the performance of medical implants, by lowering impedance without causing excessive scarring. Martin and his colleagues have been working on specializing PEDOT to allow for unique functions. Recently, the team added an antibody to the polymer that can detect when blood vessel growth hormones are attacked by a tumor a technology that could serve as a breakthrough diagnostic tool in the future.

"Name your favorite biomolecule, and you can in principle make a PEDOT film that has whatever biofunctional group you might be interested in," Martin told Inverse.

(Via Humans could merge with AI through this specialized polymer.)

There have been lots of interesting science-fictional ideas for embedded connections, like Larry Niven's ecstasy plug and William Gibson's microsoft.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/27/2020)

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