Towards addressable wireless microstimulators based on electronic rectification of epidermically applied currents

TitleTowards addressable wireless microstimulators based on electronic rectification of epidermically applied currents
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBecerra-Fajardo, L, Ivorra, A
Conference NameAnnual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
Date Published2014///
PublisherIEEE
Conference LocationChicago
KeywordsBatteries, Capacitors, Electrical Stimulation, Electrodes, Implants, Microcontrollers, Rectifiers
Abstract

Electrical stimulation has been explored to restore the capabilities of the nervous system in paralysis patients. This area of research and of clinical practice, known as Functional Electrical Stimulation, would greatly benefit from further miniaturization of implantable stimulators. To that end, we recently proposed and demonstrated an innovative electrical stimulation method in which implanted microstimulators operate as rectifiers of bursts of innocuous high frequency current supplied by skin electrodes, thus generating low frequency currents capable of stimulating excitable tissues. A diode could suffice in some applications but, in order to broaden the method's clinical applicability, we envision rectifiers with advanced capabilities such as current control and addressability. We plan flexible thread-like implants (diameters < 300 urn) containing ASICs. As an intermediate stage, we are developing macroscopic implants (diameters ∼ 2 mm) made of off-the-shelf components. Here we present a circuit which responds to commands modulated within the high frequency bursts and which is able to deliver charge-balanced currents. We show that a number of these circuits can perform independent stimulation of segments of an anesthetized earthworm following commands from a computer.