The Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) has announced the creation of a neuroscience centre specialising in the development of neuroprostheses.
In January 2009, some 50 scientists are expected to start research at the Lausanne campus into high-tech ways of improving the lives of handicapped people.
A neuroprosthesis is a device made up of sensors, connections and electronic chips that are embedded in the body to repair certain neurological deficiencies.
"Recent progress in artificial retinas and man-machine interfaces that permit communication or action via thoughts alone gives us a glimpse of the possibilities the future might hold for improving the lives of the handicapped," the EPFL said in a statement on Tuesday.
The centre will focus research on: vision, hearing, mobility, non-invasive man-machine interfaces, the micro- and nano-fabrication of implants and neuronal coding.
The project is expected to open the door to collaboration with other institutions in the Lake Geneva area including Lausanne University, Geneva University, hospitals and the regional biomedical industry.