Mixed integrated circuit technology and biotechnology represent a rapidly expanding field. The resulting combination of sensing, actuating, interfacing and intelligent processing provides implantable devices the perspective to efficiently compensate for failing organs. Bi-directional telemetry-controlled implanted micro-systems will represent a real breakthrough in healthcare and more specifically in functional electrical stimulation (FES). The afferent branch of a control loop is essential for matching responses to ongoing activity as well as automatically avoiding stimulation damage. Such systems will in addition collect information directly leading to further development of communications means with the nervous system. The IMANE research project aims at gathering the heterogeneous technologies that should concur at meeting these requirements at a highly competitive level.
A new silicone rubber metallization process and electrode surface treatment will be developed with the expected result of a miniature nerve electrode holding a high density of well characterised contacts for interfacing biological tissues. An experimental study of the correlation between neural status and damage should yield the data required to implement safety rules in the control loop of implanted devices. This feature will contribute to eliminate the decoupling capacitors usually placed at the stimulator output where they impede miniaturisation by their volume and by the wasted voltage drop they introduce. An active neural recording chain will be integrated in the final electrode to give a direct access to the neural activity. An improved encapsulation technique will be applied to the embedded electronics and completed by a new electrode assembly method.
The newly gained knowledge should be applicable in a broad range of FES medical devices but for the sake of efficiency, a single application, namely the treatment of epilepsy by vagus nerve stimulation, will be highlighted in this project.
Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project
OX14 4RX Abingdon
Paris Cedex 16
60610 La Croix Saint Ouen