Michel M. Maharbiz (Advisor)

Research Advised by Professor Michel M. Maharbiz

BPN545: Brain Machine Interfaces for Insect Flight Control

Amol Jadhav

Insects with well developed flight muscles and sophisticated neuronal network signify nature's amazing flying machines which far surpass any human engineered initiative at this scale (e.g. micro air vehicles). The complicated mechanism of flight involving generation of flight response in the brain and delegation of control spikes to the flight muscles remains relatively unexplored and presents opportunity for advanced tools and techniques to further explore this area. In this project we intend to use advanced Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) to perform neuronal ensemble measurements...

BPN451: A Cyborg Beetle: Insect Flight Control by a Neural Stimulator

Hirotaka Sato
Travis L. Massey

Despite major advances, performance of micro air vehicles (MAV's) is still limited in terms of size, payload capacity, endurance, and controllability. Various species of insects have as-yet unmatched flight capabilities and increasingly well understood muscular and nervous systems. Additionally, some of these insects undergo complete metamorphosis making them amenable to implantation and internal manipulation during metamorphosis. In light of this, we attempt to create implantable bio-interface to electrically stimulate nervous and muscular systems of alive insect to control its...

BPN626: Glucose Energy Harvester for Self-Powering of Remote Distributed Bioanalytical Microsystems

Uyen P. Do

This project focuses on the research aspects concerning the harvesting of energy from glucose in order to power autonomous, self-sustainable MEMS implants by the aid of an abiotically catalyzed micro fuel cell. The results will demonstrate a novel fuel cell architecture that first separates the oxygen at the cathode from the glucose – oxygen mixture present in the body fluid with the aid of diffusion and the use of an oxygen selective catalyst at the cathode. The in vitro prototypes will demonstrate the energy conversion from chemically stored energy (glucose) to electrical energy...

BPN496: Chemomechanical Nanomachine for Artificial Biomolecular Signal Transduction and Drug Delivery

Gabriel J. Lavella

We have developed a class of nanomachine that can rationally designed to chemomechanicaly respond to user specified antigenic biomolecules. Our long term goal is to demonstrate that these devices can be employed to achieve highly localized controlled of the cell signaling network.

Project end date: 08/16/12

BPN636: Extremely Elastic Strain Gauges via Nanotube Percolation Poisson Capacitors

Daniel J. Cohen

There is a growing need for stretchable electronics and sensors, and so we have developed a best-in-class stretchable strain gauge designed to meet this challenge. Our device works by measuring capacitive changes in parallel networks of carbon nanotubes separated by an elastomer. The device supports strains up to 100% with less than 3% variability over 3000 cycles, and does so at a materials cost of under 50 cents/sensor. The sensitivity is 0.99, while the theoretical maximum for a stretchable gauge is 1. By contrast, metal-foil gauges (the current standard) can only sustain strains...

BPN484: Effects of Cell Contact in Differentiation of Adult Neural Progenitor Cells

Sisi Chen

Cell-to-cell contact plays an important but poorly understood role in stem cell differentiation. Many proteins, such as notch, hedgehog, cadherins, and gap junctions rely on cell contact for signal transduction. The goal of this project is to probe the effects of cell contact in the differentiation of adult neural progenitor cells by high efficiency micropatterning techniques for monitoring dynamic activity or for downstream expression profiling. The adaptation of a microfluidic platform for the delivery of chemical gradients will also enable us to probe the ability of cells to...

BPN664: Blocks in Cells' Clothing: Mechanical Design of Tissues

Daniel J. Cohen

One of the most enduring paradigms in tissue engineering (the growth of artificial organs, graft tissues, etc.) is that the materials we use should be made to look more like the environment that cells normally experience. By contrast, I am working on a new type of structure designed to appear, to a cell, to be another cell. By using microfabrication methods and kidney cells, I am producing a library of different shapes, all of which are identified as 'cell' by actual cells. While esoteric, the ability to appear as a cell would encourage a number of new approaches to tissue...

BPN520: Miniaturized, Implantable Power Generator

Travis L. Massey

This research presents an implantable, miniaturized power generating system, a biofuel cell, which scavenges power from living organisms. The system harvests carbohydrates such as sugars stored inside the organism and, via an enzyme catalyst, decomposes these carbohydrates to generate electrical power. Our initial target for these devices is as a power supply for cyborg beetles. Our group has previously developed cyborg beetles, live beetles driven by wireless neural stimulator mounted on the dorsal thorax (see BPN 451). The stimulators are currently powered by a conventional...

BPN519: Harvesting Energy from Evaporation

Vedavalli G. Krishnan
Amrit Kashyap

Mimicking the transport of water in plants, the goal of this project is to harvest energy from evaporation-driven flows. This will be achieved by the use of an efficient micro-hydro power generator that is driven by the creeping flow of evaporation and fabricating a synthetic leaf that mimics the transport and transpiration of water in plants.

Project end date: 07/30/13

BPN584: Design, Fabrication and Testing of a High Density, Large Area µECoG Array

Peter Ledochowitsch
Raphael Tiefenauer

Electrocorticography (ECoG) strives to bridge the gap between traditional electroencephalography (EEG) and microneedle array recordings. While requiring a craniectomy, ECoG does not damage cortical tissue and is thus less invasive than microneedles. ECoG can achieve significantly higher spatiotemporal resolution than EEG because ECoG-electrodes are placed much closer to the signal sources in the brain. Commercially available ECoG arrays feature a small number of channels (<64) and a large electrode pitch (> 4 mm). Such coarse arrays likely undersample the signals available on...