CORDIS - EU research results

Distributed and federated cross-modality actuation through advanced nanomaterials and neuromorphic learning

Project description

Microbots in the brain for multimodal actuation and neurostimulation

Neurons communicate and carry out tasks via a complex interaction of signalling mechanisms including electrical, chemical (molecular and ionic) and thermal changes. Their participation in a given task can be measured in part by signals generated during their depolarisation and repolarisation, both individually and as the synchronous activity of many cells (extracellular field potentials). The ambitious EIC-funded CROSSBRAIN project will develop a swarm of wireless, implantable, MRI-compatible microbots that can sense electrical activity at the cellular and circuit levels and modulate electrical stimulation of cells, according to need. This will be accomplished with multimodal actuators supported by extreme edge computing made possible with onboard miniaturised wireless energy harvesting and communication.


A vast number of pathological brain conditions directly involve aberrant electrical activity of the brain. CROSSBRAIN centres its technological revolution on the convergence of novel nanoactuation modalities, bleeding-edge nano-electronics, and miniaturized wireless energy harvesting and communication. Combining extreme edge computing with advanced nanomaterials featuring tailored physical properties, biocompatible coatings, and material modifications to prevent glial scarring, CROSSBRAIN will enable individualized, adaptive and highly spatiotemporally localized actuation of brain tissue. It will leverage sensing electric local field potentials, multiunit neuronal activity, and cross-modal nanomaterial-based modulation (electrical, mechanical, thermal, ionic concentration, optogenetics) of neuronal excitability with on-board intelligence. The CROSSBRAIN platform comprises a swarm of wireless, implantable, MRI-compatible microbots for in vivo electrophysiology and cross-modal neuromodulation at the cell- and microcircuit levels, in freely moving rodents. CROSSBRAIN delivers a multiplicity of stimulation modalities, involving electro-mechano-magneto-thermo-optical principles for modulation of nerve cell excitability. The microbots will feature both sensing and actuation electrodes, engineered with nanomaterials and viral vectors coatings. They will be implanted endovascularly, deliver genetic material upon command, and operate in federation under the networked control and wireless power supply by a tiny central unit, which can be worn like an internet of things device. CROSSBRAIN will deliver autonomous or manual, closed-loop sensing, prediction, and actuation through combining multiple neuromodulation mechanisms, which will act in a synergistic and dynamic manner to optimally shape stimulation according to individual neuronal firing patterns or clinician’s needs. As case studies, we will explore CROSSBRAIN action in animal models of Parkinson’s Disease and Epilepsy.


Net EU contribution
€ 965 356,05
00133 Roma

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Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 965 433,75

Participants (9)

Partners (1)