Silk has made its way from the soft curves of the body to the spongy folds of the brain. Engineers have now designed silk-based electronics that stick to the surface of the brain, similar to the way a silk dress clings to the hips.
The stretchable, ultrathin design would make for better brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), which record brain activity in paralyzed patients and translate thoughts into movements of computer cursors or robotic arms. Because it’s so thin and flexible, a silk-based device could reach regions of the brain that were previously inaccessible.
“This development heralds a new class of implantable devices, not just for the brain, but for many other tissues,” said neurologist Brian Litt of the University of Pennsylvania who co-authored the study published April 18 in Nature Materials.