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Neural interfaces for regenerated nerve stimulation and recording

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11 Author(s)
P. Dario ; Scuola Superiore Sant Anna, Pisa, Italy ; P. Garzella ; M. Toro ; S. Micera
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A class of implantable, regeneration-type neural interfaces (NI's) for mammalian peripheral nerve recording and stimulation were developed using different fabrication processes and integrating purposely designed components. A typical NI comprises three main components: (1) a microfabricated silicon die incorporating a microelectrode array on multiple through-holes, (2) a polymer guidance channel housing the die, and (3) a flexible flat cable connecting the die to an external electronic circuitry. The design and fabrication of the NI's were aimed at achieving long term, reliable implants by taking into careful account the biological, electrical, and mechanical requirements of the specific implant site. Different versions of the NI were fabricated and implanted between the severed ends of the sciatic nerve in a mammalian animal model (rabbit). Morphological and histological evidence showed that nerves regenerated through the NI's and electrophysiological results demonstrated the recovery of electrical functionality. Moreover, the NI's allowed stimulation of the regenerated nerve producing a visible leg/foot contraction. The NI's presented in this paper are being further improved in the authors' laboratories with the ultimate goal of allowing the control of nerve motor and sensory functions in future prosthetic devices

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Rehabilitation Engineering  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 4 )