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Read/Write Brain Electrodes Handier Now

Read/write brain electrodes are able to simultaneously read and stimulate brain neurons; forget those clumsy millimeter-sized models only able to do one or the other. If only they were smaller and more easy to use, you say? Take a look at this prototype.


(Read/Write Brain Electrode prototype)

IMEC is presenting a a new prototype multi-electrode stimulation & recording probe for deep-brain stimulation. The intent is to replace the existing models used for electrical stimulation of specific brain areas, a last-resort therapy for brain disorders such as Parkinson's disease, tremor, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Their large probe size stimulates the brain in an unfocused way, leading to significant unwanted side effects. These smart neurological implant systems are as little as five years away.

Wolfgang Eberle, Senior Scientist and project manager at IMEC’s bioelectronics research group: “To have a more precise stimulation and recording, we need electrodes that are as small as individual brain cells (neurons). Such small electrodes can be made with semiconductor process technology, appropriate design tools, and advanced electronic signal processing. At DATE [Design, Automation & Test in Europe conference], we want to bring this message to the design community, showing the huge opportunities that the healthcare sector offers.”

These new design approaches open up possibilities for more effective stimulation with less side effects, reduced energy consumption due to focusing the stimulation current on the desired brain target, and closed-loop control adapting the stimulation based on the recorded effect.

How else will we ever get Ixian brain probes? Or microsofts? Or communications implants? Or ecstasy plugs?

From IMEC’s design strategy for brain implants paves the way to multi-electrode deep-brain stimulation (press release) via medGadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/30/2009)

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