Dec 282010

The present-day neuromodulation technology has been around for 25 years despite the advances in microfabricaion methods and electronics. In part that is due to a lack of novel scalable platform technologies with proven reliability of electrode-tissue interface, interconnects, and packaging. One of such platform technologies is now being developed by Dr. John Parker at the Sydney-based Implant Systems Group of the Australian research center NICTA. Leveraging from the cochlear implant technology, developed by the Cochlear Corp., Parker and his coworkers are developing a modular platform consisting of the multi-channel electrodes, sensors, actuators, processing elements, and packaging. Among the novel features of this platform are: a novel method for microfabrication of the electrode arrays involving the wire electrodes sawn into polymer yarn, novel biocompatible chip-scale hermetic packaging, and novel ASIC architecture for highly distributed neurostimulation systems employing optical data transmission. Targeted neuromodulation applications for this platform technology range from movement disorders (Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor) to obesity and depression. Perhaps because of a relative simplicity of epidural spinal implantation and a limited number of required stimulation channels, the chronic intractable pain was chosen as the first target application of the technology.  The INS2 device will include all key components of the platform including the yarn-woven electrodes with recording and stimulation capability, the ASIC chip, and a rechargeable battery with power telemetry. The human trials will begin sometime in 2011. If successful, the technology will be commercialized by a new spin-out company Saluda Medical.

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