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SMU and DARPA develop fiber optics for the human nervous system


The Department of Defense and Southern Methodist University have teamed up to develop prosthetics that use two-way fiber optic communication between artificial limbs and peripheral nerves to essentially give these devices the ability to feel pressure or temperature. The technology is called neurophotonics, and it will someday allow hi-speed communication between the brain and artificial limbs. But that's just the beginning -- the work being done at SMU's Neurophotonics Research Center might someday lead to brain implants that control tremors, neuro-modulators for chronic pain management, implants for treating spinal cord injuries, and more. And since we can't have a post about DARPA-funded research without the following trope, Dean Orsak of the SMU Lyle School of Engineering points out that "[s]cience fiction writers have long imagined the day when the understanding and intuition of the human brain could be enhanced by the lightning speed of computing technologies. With this remarkable research initiative, we are truly beginning a journey into the future that will provide immeasurable benefits to humanity." Truly.

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