Bionic implants

US researchers have developed an electrode ten times smaller than conventional electrodes that could be hooked up to a single neuron, pointing the way towards better studies of neural activity. The electrode comprises a thread of highly conductive carbon fiber coated in plastic to block out signals from other neurons. An ionically conducting gel pad at the end of the electrode faces up to the sensitive neuronal cell membrane. Its biocompatibility means it is not attacked by the immune system.