Introduction: Memory Brain Implant for People With Memory Loss (Silly Solutions)
Hello, my name is Erica Huang, and I am 15 years old. I created a device to help people with memory loss, such as Alzheimer's patients, to improve their memory. Each different memory is recalled by a special pattern of synapses in the hippocampus, and the more often a pattern is recalled the stronger it is, and the less likely you are to forget it. This is why something as small as what a stranger was wearing when they walked by you is hardly noticed, let alone remembered. With memory loss, a lot of memories can't be recalled because the connections can't be made, and fewer new neurons are created in the brain, which I will explain. There are two main things that make memory what it is, at that is synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis. Synaptic plasticity is the change that occurs at synaptic junctions that allow neurons to communicate. Neurogenesis is the creating of new neurons in the brain via neuronal stem cells. My device will strengthen the connections at the neurons junctions where synaptic connections are made, and it will stimulate neurogenesis so more new neurons are created to form new memories. It will also have a feature that lets you change the settings once it's already inside the brain. The feature will imitate a cochlear implant in the sense that there is a magnet attached to the implant and an outside device will magnetically attach to it.
Step 1: Create the Frame of the Device
The hippocampus is no more than 3.5 squared cm, so I had to take that into account when designing the device. The frame of the device is 15x15x1mm, which is enough to fit onto the hippocampus with room for placement error.
Step 2: Create the Prongs Attaching to the Neurons
These prongs are to be attached to neural stem cells to increase the process of neurogenesis happening among those stem cells connected. Some prongs will also be connected to the tips of axons and dendrites to make sure the junctions are regulated to the point where they can create the patterns needed to recall a memory. Each prong is 1x1x2mm, ending at the bottom of the frame.
Step 3: Add the Computer
The yellow square is the computer, where all the real work happens. The computer is responsible for regulating neurogenesis and the synaptic connections at junctions. It has to be incredibly small for such a powerful computer because it has to fit on the frame. I made the computer chip 13x13x1mm, starting at the top of the frame, which I know at this point in time seems pretty unrealistic, having such a powerful computer that small, but in the direction we're going with neuroscience and technology progression, I think soon it will be made.
Step 4: Add the Magnet
This magnet is used to change the settings with an outside device once the implant is already in. This will be necessary because as the neurogenesis and synaptic connections improve, there won't be a need to regulate them as much, so by having an outside magnetic connection, you can change the settings to be either more or less aggressive depending on the patient's response. I made this chip with a diameter of 13mm and a height of 0.5mm, starting from the top of the chip.
Participated in the
Tinkercad Student Design Contest