EPFL develops flexible electrode array for brain surgery
22 May 2023 09:25
Researchers from the Neuro X Institute at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) have, according to a press release, developed a flexible electrode array that can be implanted via a minimally invasive procedure between the skull and areas of the cortex. The first prototype consists of an electrode array that fits through a hole in the skull measuring 2 cm in diameter, but when deployed it extends across a surface 4 cm in diameter.
The method was derived on the basis of developments in the area of soft bioelectronics. The electrode array is made from soft, flexible plastic with vapor-deposited gold electrodes. These are arranged in a spiral shape in order to create the largest possible surface area. Electrical impulses can then be sent to stimulate neurons. During implantation, the electrodes, which are folded in a tube, are “inverted” and unfolded using a liquid inserted with minimal pressure - all without damaging the brain. The study was published in the journal “Science Robotics”.
According to EPFL, this technology could prove to be particularly useful in attempts to offer minimally invasive solutions to epilepsy patients. The press release explains that this method has so far been successfully tested in a mini pig. This soft neurotechnology is now being scaled by Neurosoft Bioelectronics, a spin-off from the EPFL Laboratory for Soft Bioelectronic Interfaces based in Pregny-Chambésy in the canton of Vaud, which will also front clinical implementation efforts. At the beginning of May 2023, the start-up was awarded funding of 2.5 million Swiss francs from Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency, withing the framework of the Swiss Accelerator program. ce/eb