Transparent Skull Implants May Let You Look Somebody in the Brain



Ah, Dr. Badvibes. Always thought he could be even creepier if done realistically (and hey, why DOESN’T anybody talk about a live-action C.O.P.S. movie? Is Bulletproof too similar to Tony Stark?). And that time would seem to be now.

A team of University of California, Riverside researchers have developed a novel transparent skull implant that literally provides a “window to the brain”, which they hope will eventually open new treatment options for patients with life-threatening neurological disorders, such as brain cancer and traumatic brain injury.

The team’s implant is made of the same ceramic material currently used in hip implants and dental crowns, yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ). However, the key difference is that their material has been processed in a unique way to make it transparent.

Since YSZ has already proven itself to be well-tolerated by the body in other applications, the team’s advancement now allows use of YSZ as a permanent window through which doctors can aim laser-based treatments for the brain, importantly, without having to perform repeated craniectomies, which involve removing a portion of the skull to access the brain.

Since transparent skin doesn’t exist, I’m guessing they still have to keep peeling that back. But if you’re badly off enough that you need multiple laser brain surgeries, I’d guess that’s a minor inconvenience at best.