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Wireless, implanted sensor broadens range of brain research
Date:3/19/2013

ital signals that could be used by a computer, and then boost those signals to a level that could be detected by a wireless receiver located some distance outside the body. Like all cordless machines, the device had to be rechargeable, but in the case of an implanted brain sensor, recharging must also be done wirelessly.

The researchers consulted with brain surgeons on the shape and size of the sensor, which they built out of titanium, commonly used in joint replacements and other medical implants. They also fitted the device with a window made of sapphire, which electromagnetic signals pass through more easily than other materials, to assist with wireless transmission and inductive charging, a method of recharging also used in electronic toothbrushes. Inside, the device was densely packed with the electronics specifically designed to function on low power to reduce the amount of heat generated by the device and to extend the time it could work on battery power.

Testing the device in animal modelstwo pigs and two rhesus macaquesthe researchers were able to receive and record data from the implanted sensors in real time over a broadband wireless connection. The sensors could transmit signals more than three feet and have continued to perform for over a year with little degradation in quality or performance.

The ability to remotely record brain activity data as an animal interacts naturally with its environment may help inform studies on muscle control and the movement-related brain circuits, the researchers say. While testing of the current devices continues, the researchers plan to refine the sensor for better heat management and data transmission, with use in human medical care as the goal.

"Clinical applications may include thought-controlled prostheses for severely neurologically impaired patients, wireless access to motorized wheelchairs or other assistive technologies, and diagnostic monitoring such as in epilepsy, where pa
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Contact: Karin Lee
nibibpress@mail.nih.gov
301-496-3500
NIH/National Institute of Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering
Source:Eurekalert  

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