Zuckerberg collauda un dispositivo in grado di leggere il cervello: servirà a “curare tutte le malattie”

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Il progetto, frutto della collaborazione tra Università di Berkeley e Cortera, è stato finanziato dalla fondazione di Mark Zuckerberg e Priscilla Chan, con un budget di oltre cinque miliardi di dollari

Captare gli impulsi elettrici che il cervello trasmette per i movimenti del corpo con il fine di correggerli in tempo reale: è questa la missione assegnata a WAND, l’innovativo congegno realizzato da un gruppo di esperti ricercatori sotto l’egida di Zuckerberg e moglie.

Testato di recente su alcune scimmie, il dispositivo, nato dall’unione di forza tra l’Università di Berkeley e la startup Cortera, funziona come un “pacemaker cerebrale” capace di monitorare e influenzare ben 128 punti diversi dell’encefalo grazie a una serie di elettrodi. Un complicato processo regolato da uno speciale algoritmo tramite cui il segnale proveniente dal cervello viene separato da quello di ritorno generato da WAND.

Durante l’esperimento – descritto su Nature Biomedical Engineering – i primati hanno dovuto muovere un joystick per seguire un obiettivo su schermo, mentre il compito dell’apparecchio tecnologico voluto da Zuckerberg è stato quello di capire in anticipo le intenzioni degli animali e quindi bloccare i loro movimenti con una scarica elettrica.

“Questo congegno appare davvero innovativo – ha spiegato Rikky Muller, ricercatrice dell’Università di Berkeley e cofondatrice di Cortera (inclusa, tra l’altro, nella lista degli scenziati under 35 più innovativi secondo il MIT) – perché il soggetto è completamente libero di muoversi e la macchina comprende da sola come e quando interferire. Un giorno, WAND potrebbe avere applicazione per numerose malattie che colpiscono i movimenti, inclusi i traumi della spina dorsale e l’epilessia”. Il perfezionamento di un simile dispositivo, inoltre, aprirebbe senz’altro la strada a nuove terapie per il Parkinson.

Non a caso, la principale e nobile motivazione che, sin dagli esordi, guida la Chan Zuckerberg Initiative – ovvero la fondazione istituita dal CEO di Facebook e da Priscilla Chan – è proprio la volontà di “curare tutte le malattie“.

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