Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Berkeley engineers build smallest volume, most efficient wireless nerve stimulator

11.04.2018

In 2016, University of California, Berkeley, engineers demonstrated the first implanted, ultrasonic neural dust sensors, bringing closer the day when a Fitbit-like device could monitor internal nerves, muscles or organs in real time. Now, Berkeley engineers have taken neural dust a step forward by building the smallest volume, most efficient wireless nerve stimulator to date.

The device, called StimDust, short for stimulating neural dust, adds more sophisticated electronics to neural dust without sacrificing the technology's tiny size or safety, greatly expanding the range of neural dust applications.


The small size of StimDust can be seen in comparison to a dime.

Credit: Rikky Muller


This graphic details the simplicity of the StimDust design. The components of StimDust include a single piezocrystal, which is the antenna of the system, a 1-millimeter integrated circuit and one charge storage capacitor.

Credit: Courtesy of Rikky Muller

The researchers' goal is to have StimDust implanted in the body through minimally invasive procedures to monitor and treat disease in a real-time, patient-specific approach. StimDust is just 6.5 cubic millimeters in volume and is powered wirelessly by ultrasound, which the device then uses to power nerve stimulation at an efficiency of 82 percent.

"StimDust is the smallest deep-tissue stimulator that we are aware of that's capable of stimulating almost all of the major therapeutic targets in the peripheral nervous system," said Rikky Muller, co-lead of the work and assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at Berkeley.

"This device represents our vision of having tiny devices that can be implanted in minimally invasive ways to modulate or stimulate the peripheral nervous system, which has been shown to be efficacious in treating a number of diseases."

The research will be presented April 10 at the IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference in San Diego. The research team was co-led by one of neural dust's inventors, Michel Maharbiz, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at Berkeley.

The creation of neural dust at Berkeley, led by Maharbiz and Jose Carmena, a Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and a member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, has opened the door for wireless communication to the brain and peripheral nervous system through tiny implantable devices inside the body that are powered by ultrasound. Engineering teams around the world are now using the neural dust platform to build devices that can be charged wirelessly by ultrasound.

Maharbiz came up with the idea to use ultrasound for powering and communicating with very small implants. Together with Berkeley professors Elad Alon and Jan Rabaey, the group then developed the technical framework to demonstrate the scaling power of ultrasound for implantable devices.

Early engineering work by D.J. Seo, a Berkeley Ph.D. student who was co-advised by Alon and Maharbiz, followed by experimental validations by Ryan Neely, another Berkeley Ph.D. student, advised by Carmena, set the foundations of the neural dust vision. In the years since neural dust's invention, ultrasound has proven to be among the most promising technologies for powering and communicating implantable devices.

Muller came to Berkeley in 2016 and has been a key driver of neural dust innovation. Her research group specializes in bidirectional electronic interfaces with human body, specifically in the brain and peripheral nervous system. Her team has been working on ways to use the power that can be transmitted to neural dust. In StimDust, her lab has taken the neural dust platform and built a more effective stimulator that can wrap around a nerve cuff and can also record, transmit and receive data. They did this by designing a custom integrated circuit to transfer ultrasound charge to the nerve in a well-controlled, safe and efficient way.

StimDust is about an order of magnitude smaller than any active device with similar capabilities that the research team is aware of. The components of StimDust include a single piezocrystal, which is the antenna of the system, a 1-millimeter integrated circuit and one charge storage capacitor. StimDust has electrodes on the bottom, which make contact with a nerve through a cuff that wraps around the nerve. In addition to the device, Muller's team designed a custom wireless protocol that gives them a large range of programmability while maintaining efficiency. The entire device is powered by just 4 microwatts and has a mass of 10 milligrams.

After testing StimDust on the benchtop, the research team implanted it in a live rodent to test it in a realistic environment. Through a cuff around the sciatic nerve, the research team was able to control hind leg motion, record the stimulation activity and measure how much force was exerted on the hind leg muscle as it was stimulated. The researchers then gradually increased stimulation and mapped the response of the hind leg muscle so they could know exactly how much stimulation was needed for a desired muscle recruitment, a kind of sophisticated analysis required of medical devices.

Muller hopes that her work can lead to applications of StimDust to treat diseases such as heart irregularities, chronic pain, asthma or epilepsy.

"One of the big visions of my group is to create these very efficient bidirectional interfaces with the nervous system and couple that with intelligence to really understand the signals of disease and then to be able to treat disease in an intelligent, methodical way," Muller said. There's an incredible opportunity for healthcare applications that can really be transformative."

Brett Israel | EurekAlert!

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht A paper battery powered by bacteria
21.08.2018 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Converting wind power for storage purposes
21.08.2018 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Air pollution leads to cardiovascular diseases

21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Researchers target protein that protects bacteria's DNA 'recipes'

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>