Silk-based implants that stretch, and stick to the brain’s contours and folds like shrink wrap, will monitor patient’s brains and other organs, without damaging sensitive tissues.
Tufts University biomedical engineering professors David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto created the silk substrate, which causes less inflammation than one with sharp edges.
“The implants contain metal electrodes that are 500 microns thick, or about five times the thickness of a human hair. The absence of sharp electrodes and rigid surfaces should improve safety, with less damage to brain tissue. Also, the implants’ ability to mold to the brain's surface could provide better stability; the brain sometimes shifts in the skull and the implant could move with it. Finally, by spreading across the brain, the implants have the potential to capture the activity of large networks of brain cells, Dr. Litt said.”