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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: September 2015

33 - Low-power building blocks for neural recording systems

from Part VI - Brain interfaces


Neural recording

Neural recordings have been utilized for controlling brain–machine interfaces, such as artificial arms, since the late 1960s [1]. Neural recording devices play a central role in paralysis prosthetics, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, prosthetics for blindness, and experimental neuroscience systems. Several attempts have been conducted in recent years to implement large-scale multi-electrode neural recording [2], [3]. Experiments have been conducted on a variety of species ranging from rats [4] and monkeys [5] to humans [6].

Figure 33.1 shows how a brain–machine interface (BMI) can help several patients. Figure 33.1(a) shows conceptually how BMIs can help patients who suffer from damaged arm muscles, preventing the signal from reaching the brain, or those who have artificial limbs [7]. Vivid examples of recent efforts in using BMIs to help paralyzed patients include the thought control of a wheelchair [8], as seen in Figure 33.1(b), and thought control of a robotic arm by a patient suffering from paralysis for 15 years [9], as shown in Figure 33.1(c). However, better quality of life could be imparted to these patients if a fully implantable wireless solution was available.

Figure 33.2 shows an illustrative picture of a brain implant system. The implant’s power is wirelessly harvested to allow battery-free operation. Wireless transmission is necessary to allow for non-invasive operation.

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