Proof of Concept of a Stimulator Based on AC Current Rectification for Neuroprosthetics

TitleProof of Concept of a Stimulator Based on AC Current Rectification for Neuroprosthetics
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBecerra-Fajardo, L, Ivorra, A
Conference NameXXX Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniría Biomédica
Conference LocationSan Sebastián, Spain

For several years, researchers have developed techniques to replace and enhance the capabilities of our neural system by means of implantable electrical stimulation technologies. Even though important work has been done in this field, further progress must be accomplished in terms of miniaturization in order to ensure comfort, simpler surgical implantation procedures, and the capability of using multiple wireless smart stimulators for achieving more muscle recruitment. In the past, with the objective of accomplishing an unprecedented level of miniaturization, we have proposed the development of implantable stimulators that would act as rectifiers of AC current supplied by external electrodes. Here it is described the development and evaluation of an addressable stimulator based on discrete component technology as a proof-of-concept of the proposed method. This macroscopic version of the stimulator is capable of generating magnitude controlled bipolar pulses according to commands modulated in the AC current. Multiple evaluations were done to test the device, including DC current testing, in-vitro and in-vivo testing, concluding that the developed system is an effective proof-of-concept of the method proposed, being able to perform controlled electrical stimulation. Electrical current testing showed that anodal and cathodal currents were generated, and in-vivo testing showed the effective electrical stimulation of an anesthetized earthworm. It is concluded that the idea of developing smart rectifiers as implantable stimulators is feasible. This represents a first step towards the design of an implantable device with a miniaturization level without precedents.