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Blindness, deafness, chronic pain, epilepsy, motor neurone disease, and Parkinson’s disease are all linked to misfiring neurons that humans have not been able to control. Materials engineer Associate Professor Matthew Griffith from the University of South Australia, gives hope to humanity as together with his team, they found a way to address this common issue.

To do so, they create carbon-based biocompatible inks printed into soft flexible devices that can be surgically implanted, electronically communicating with the neural network on demand.

The aim is to reprogram injury and diseases out of existence by printing cheap, electronic devices that can talk to our bodies in a language it understands,” Dr Griffith says.

Damaged or misfiring neurons have catastrophic consequences, resulting in blindness, paralysis and a whole host of neurological disorders that we have not been able to cure. We believe we can change this by developing clever, organic electronic inks, which we can 3D print into flexible devices that are able to talk to neurons, grow new nerve cells and create artificial neural interfaces.”

Around three billion people suffer from neurological conditions worldwide; another 200 million are blind; and one in five people live with chronic pain. All are related to neurons misfiring, resulting in undesirable changes to the brain, senses, and behaviour.

To help guide our research, we talk to a lot of patients that are affected by these disorders, and a lot of clinicians trying to treat them. What we are all excited about as we work together on this journey is the potential to cure these diseases for the first time in human history.”

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