National Nuclear Security Administration

Innovation from NNSA lab helps people touch, see, hear & remember

May 4, 2016

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The groundbreaking science and technology capabilities that are a part of the NNSA enterprise impact more than just national security and energy. Developments at NNSA’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) literally give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. Efforts at LLNL may one day help recover lost memories.

LLNL has a long history in bioengineering technology. Last year, a neural engineer at LLNL took public questions about her work on implantable devices to restore sight, hearing, and movement. The lab helped develop the first FDA-approved bionic eye. LLNL created electrode arrays that power power cochlear implants

LLNL has devised a hybrid biological and electronic platform that could help advance neural prosthetics and increase the efficiency of future computers. LLNL researchers have also been able to 3D-print living, working structures such as blood vessels. LLNL researchers are working on neural interfaces that someday may provide bladder control for people with spinal cord injury. The lab’s scientists also contributed to the world’s first neural system for feeling and movement in prosthetic hands

Most recently, NNSA’s LLNL is working on devices to understand, stop, and recover from memory loss. Researchers hope to create an implantable neural device with the ability to record and stimulate neurons in the brain to help restore memory.

Learn more about how the unique science and technology capabilities in NNSA’s enterprise contribute to medical advances at LLNL’s website.