Brain Unplugged

Schematic shows a man with the wireless recharging battery implanted in head

Is your brain’s battery wearing down?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Some folks with Parkinson’s disease get treatment by ZAPPING THEIR BRAINS! Seriously — a surgeon plants a battery-powered wire in their brain that continuously emits electrical pulses. Problem is, batteries wear out – and that means extra surgery.

Choong Yeon Kim at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Min Jeong Ku at Yonsei University are testing a NEW implant! It looks like a chiclet and uses antennas to charge WIRELESSLY. 

Other wireless models are too big for humans. This one’s smaller than a quarter! It even has Bluetooth controls. To test its JUICE, the researchers tried the implant out in living rats and a dummy human head. They connected a phone over Bluetooth and started swiping!

Results? The implant hit full power in under an hour WITHOUT overheating the dummy head! Its stimulation reduced hyperactivity in the rats. This advancement means doctors may someday manage HUMAN implants without repeated surgery!

This is your brain OFF plugs. As for hair plugs? Different story!

References: Kim, C. Y., Ku, M. J., Qazi, R., Nam, H. J., Park, J. W., Nam, K. S., Oh, S., Kang, I., Jang, J.-H., Kim, W. Y., Kim, J.-H., & Jeong, J.-W. (2021). Soft subdermal implant capable of wireless battery charging and programmable controls for applications in optogenetics. Nature Communications, 12(1), 1–13.