Pushing the boundaries of implantable neuro-device development

Building an implantable brain radio

Brain-computer interface

It may sound like science fiction, but the development of an implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) that can directly detect brain signals and wirelessly send them to a decoding computer is under development at the Wyss Center.

This implantable brain radio has the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of neuro-disorders ranging from epilepsy and paralysis to tinnitus.

Significant engineering challenges must be solved before implantable devices can reliably transfer the large volumes of neural data needed to address clinical needs.


The next step in BCI development

One of the major challenges of developing implantable devices that can measure brain signals is securely encapsulating the device in a protective biocompatible housing that will allow it to function in the body for years. The integration of innovative feedthrough technologies, hermetic sealing and biocompatible materials are key to driving the field forward.

Restoring communication, mobility, and independence

The system works by placing a tiny microelectrode array into the surface of the cerebral cortex – the outer gray matter of the brain. The microelectrode array detects brain activity and relays the neural signals to a computer. The computer translates the signal into digital commands, giving patients the opportunity to communicate, interact and regain independence.

Feedthroughs allow wires that carry brain signals to pass into implantable neuro-devices while keeping moisture away from the sensitive internal electronics.

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