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A Hermetic Wireless Subretinal Neurostimulator for Vision Prostheses

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11 Author(s)
Kelly, S.K. ; Center for Innovative Visual Rehabilitation, VA Boston Healthcare Syst., Boston, MA, USA ; Shire, D.B. ; Chen, J. ; Doyle, P.
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A miniaturized, hermetically encased, wirelessly operated retinal prosthesis has been developed for preclinical studies in the Yucatan minipig, and includes several design improvements over our previously reported device. The prosthesis attaches conformally to the outside of the eye and electrically drives a microfabricated thin-film polyimide array of sputtered iridium oxide film electrodes. This array is implanted into the subretinal space using a customized ab externo surgical technique. The implanted device includes a hermetic titanium case containing a 15-channel stimulator chip and discrete circuit components. Feedthroughs in the case connect the stimulator chip to secondary power and data receiving coils on the eye and to the electrode array under the retina. Long-term in vitro pulse testing of the electrodes projected a lifetime consistent with typical devices in industry. The final assembly was tested in vitro to verify wireless operation of the system in physiological saline using a custom RF transmitter and primary coils. Stimulation pulse strength, duration, and frequency were programmed wirelessly from a Peripheral Component Interconnect eXtensions for Instrumentation (PXI) computer. Operation of the retinal implant has been verified in two pigs for up to five and a half months by detecting stimulus artifacts generated by the implanted device.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:58 ,  Issue: 11 )