Neural prostheses in clinical practice: biomedical microsystems in neurological rehabilitation
Technical devices have supported physicians in diagnosis, therapy, and rehabilitation since ancient times. Neural prostheses interface parts of the nervous system with technical (micro-) systems to partially restore sensory and motor functions that have been lost due to trauma or diseases. Electrodes act as transducers to record neural signals or to excite neural cells by means of electrical stimulation. The field of neural prostheses has grown over the last decades. An overview of neural prostheses illustrates the opportunities and limitations of the implants and performance in their current size and complexity. The implementation of microsystem technology with integrated microelectronics in neural implants 20 years ago opened new fields of application, but also new design paradigms and approaches with respect to the biostability of passivation and housing concepts and electrode interfaces. Microsystem specific applications in the peripheral nervous system, vision prostheses and brain-machine interfaces show the variety of applications and the challenges in biomedical microsystems for chronic nerve interfaces in new and emerging research fields that bridge neuroscientific disciplines with material science and engineering. Different scenarios are discussed where system complexity strongly depends on the rehabilitation objective and the amount of information that is necessary for the chosen neuro-technical interface.
KeywordsNeural prostheses implant biomedical microsystems brain-computer-interface motor prostheses vision prostheses neuromodulation electrical stimulation recording nerve interface
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