Newly developed “glassy carbon” electrodes transmit more robust signals to restore motion in people with damaged spinal cords.
When people suffer spinal cord injuries and lose mobility in their limbs, it’s a neural signal processing problem. The brain can still send clear electrical impulses and the limbs can still receive them, but the signal gets lost in the damaged spinal cord.
Grant Imahara, co-host of Netflix’s “Mythbusters” spin-off television show “White Rabbit Project,” watches as a team of scientists put a model dragster into what looks like a small room. At the press of a button and flick of a switch on the control center outside, wind loudly floods the room while computers analyze the way the air flaps and folds around the racecar’s curves. “You hear that?” Imahara shouts over the deafening roar. “That’s the sound of science!”
Last year, there were more than 250 million cars and trucks on the road in the United States, with more than 35,000 vehicle-related fatalities. Vehicle collisions are the most common non-illness-related way to die in this country. Yet the American driving landscape is changing rapidly, with driverless and semi-automated cars, ride-sharing and connected vehicles all growing quickly in popularity and ubiquity. To help understand how these changes will impact both driver and pedestrian safety, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded a five-year grant that, including matching funds, will total $28 million to a consortium consisting of San Diego State University, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). The center is named “Safety through Disruption (SafeD): Goal Zero” and will be led by the VTTI.