Bin He can point to a spot on the brain that gave off a sub-microvolt signal corresponding to a thought. The question now is can thoughts be managed with the same techniques used to manage power?
According to a report by EE Times editor at large Rick Merritt, the University of Minnesota researcher isolated signals in separate tests with a magnetic-resonance imager and an electroencephalogram (EEG) as part of a study on brain-computer interfaces.
The brain-computer interface is "one of the hottest research areas in bioengineering," Bin He said.
Merritt reported from the International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.
In another story, Merritt reported that Medtronic Inc. has started trials in monkeys of an implantable device that can automatically sense and respond to brain waves. A commercial system could be years away, but the initial tests promise new insights into how the brain works.
It may not be as mundane as managing brain waves for us to become better humans. Never mind managing thoughts.
Belgium-based IMEC and its research affiliate Holst Center have come up with a prototype of an electrocardiogram or ECG necklace. The paper is being presented at the same conference in Minneapolis.
The technology enables long-term monitoring of cardiac performance and allows patients to remain ambulatory and continue their routine daily activities while under observation. The embedded beat detection algorithm copes with the artifacts inherent to ambulatory monitoring systems.
The ECG necklace's low-power consumption ensures 7 days autonomy. IMEC used a proprietary ultra-low power analog readout ASIC and a low-power commercial radio/microprocessor platform.
A second ultra-low power microcontroller unit controls the wireless transmission of the ECG data to a computer within a range of 10m.
Between power managing waves from the brain and those to the heart, there are plenty of opportunities for silicon vendors in medical applications, especially if they have power management solutions.