04.05.2021 •

The Future of Neuroscience: Flexible and Wireless Implantable Neural Electronics


Neurological diseases are a prevalent cause of global mortality and are of growing concern when considering an ageing global population. Traditional treatments are accompanied by serious side effects including repeated treatment sessions, invasive surgeries, or infections. For example, in the case of deep brain stimulation, large, stiff, and battery powered neural probes recruit thousands of neurons with each pulse, and can invoke a vigorous immune response. This paper presents challenges in engineering and neuroscience in developing miniaturized and biointegrated alternatives, in the form of microelectrode probes. Progress in design and topology of neural implants has shifted the goal post toward highly specific recording and stimulation, targeting small groups of neurons and reducing the foreign body response with biomimetic design principles. Implantable device design recommendations, fabrication techniques, and clinical evaluation of the impact flexible, integrated probes will have on the treatment of neurological disorders are provided in this report. The choice of biocompatible material dictates fabrication techniques as novel methods reduce the complexity of manufacture. Wireless power, the final hurdle to truly implantable neural interfaces, is discussed. These aspects are the driving force behind continued research: significant breakthroughs in any one of these areas will revolutionize the treatment of neurological disorders.

Full Open Access review article:

Advanced Science