Intel is working along with Brown University to develop artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine to help correct spinal cord defects. It will deal with the toughest spinal cord defects including paralysis.
"A spinal cord injury is devastating, and little is known about how remaining circuits around the injury may be leveraged to support rehabilitation and restoration of lost function. Listening for the first time to the spinal circuits around the injury and then taking action in real time with Intel's combined AI hardware and software solutions will uncover new knowledge about the spinal cord and accelerate innovation toward new therapies," David Borton, Assistant Professor of engineering, Brown University, stated in the official press release posted on the Intel Website on Thursday.
The tie up has been backed by the US state agency Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in an Intelligent Spine Interface Project with a $6.3 million grant that will use AI to improve and restore movement to people stricken by spinal cord ailments over the next couple of years.
Researchers and surgeons at the Rhode Island Hospital will not only help with initial data collection, but also help implant electrode arrays into volunteers with spinal cord injuries.
It envisions creating an "intelligent bypass" for the spinal cord by implanting electrodes on either side of the injured part and sending electrical signals across.
The communication of motor commands between different parts of the mechanism is expected to improve since it is using a self-learning neural network, made by Intel.
The initial interface will use external computing hardware aimed at interpreting spinal signals initially, to ultimately develop an implantable system.
The project seems ambitious at the very least, but it echoes Intel's interest in AI, in medicine. The company has undertaken it as a corporate social responsibility initiative and declared its softwares such as the nGraph and the Intel AI accelerator hardware open source.