Michel M. Maharbiz (Advisor)

Research Advised by Professor Michel M. Maharbiz

BPN571: Implantable Microengineered Neural Interfaces for Studying and Controlling Insects

Travis L. Massey

Our goal is to control the flight of an insect by appropriating its sensory systems. Although significant funding has gone in to developing micro air vehicles (MAVs, wingspan <15cm), flying insects still significantly outperform the most sophisticated flying robots in efficiency, flight time, stability, and maneuverability. The restrictions that such a small spatial scale places on the amount of energy that can be stored on-board and on actuator efficiency means that this gap is expected to continue for a number of years to come. We are therefore pursuing a novel MAV design that...

BPN699: A Modular System for High-Density, Multi-Scale Electrophysiology

Maysamreza Chamanzar

Truly large-scale electrophysiology simultaneous recording of thousands of individual neurons in multiple brain areas remains an elusive goal of neuroscience. The traditional approach of studying single neurons in isolation assumes that the brain can be understood one component at a time. However, in order to fully understand the function of whole brain circuits, it is essential to observe the interactions of large numbers of neurons in multiple brain areas simultaneously with high spatiotemporal resolution. This project will establish a complete system for multi-scale...

BPN769: Acousto-Optic Modulation of Brain Activity: Novel Techniques for Optogenetic Stimulation and Imaging

Maysam Chamanzar

One of the fundamental challenges in monitoring and modulating central nervous system activity is the lack of tools for simultaneous non-invasive interrogation of local neuronal ensembles in different regions of the brain. Despite recent advances in neural modulation techniques, including a rapidly expanding optogenetic and imaging toolset, we still lack a robust, minimally- invasive optogenetic stimulation platform. The ability to independently deliver light to multiple highly-localized regions of the brain would drastically improve in vivo optogenetic experiments. Illuminating a...

BPN745: Wafer-Scale Intracellular Carbon Nanotube-Based Neural Probes

Konlin Shen

Current in-vivo methods of electrical recordings of the brain are hampered by low spatial resolution, invasiveness to the surrounding tissue, and scalability. Carbon nanotube based electrodes are ideal for intracellular neural recordings due to their small size and flexibility, allowing for higher density arrays and less damage to the brain. However, current methods for selective placement and alignment of carbon nanotubes cannot be done easily on a wafer scale. This project aims to solve this issue in order to create wafer-scale carbon nanotube based neural probes for intracellular...

BPN808: Acoustic Detection of Neural Activity

Konlin Shen

There is a need for non-invasive methods of neural probing without genetic modification for both clinical and scientific use. It has been found that action potentials are accompanied by small nanometer-scale membrane deformations in firing neurons. These mechanical waves, known as “action waves”, travel down axons in concert with action potentials and could be used to determine neuronal activity. Because acoustic waves are far less lossy in the brain than electromagnetic waves, we believe it may be possible to detect action waves from neurons up to 4 millimeters away with a...

BPN731: Flexible Electrodes and Insertion Machine for Stable, Minimally-Invasive Neural Recording

Timothy L. Hanson

Current approaches to interfacing with the nervous system mainly rely on stiff electrode materials, which work remarkably well, but suffer degradation from chronic immune response due to mechanical impedance mismatch and blood-brain barrier disruption. This current technology also poses limits on recording depth, spacing, and location. In this project we aim to ameliorate these issues by developing a system of very fine and flexible electrodes for recording from nervous tissue, a robotic system for manipulating and implanting these electrodes, and a means for integrating electrodes...

BPN823: Automated System for Assembling a High-Density Microwire Neural Recording Array

Travis L. Massey

Assembly at the microscale involves manipulation of one or more components relative to another in order to create a microstructure or device composed of these two or more components that would be difficult or impossible to monolithically fabricate. One specific class of problems that is well suited to microassembly rather than microfabrication is the creation of very high aspect ratio out-of-plane microstructures. As size and complexity of these out-of-plane microstructures grows, it becomes compelling if not necessary to automate the device assembly. To this end, we are developing...

BPN771: Silicon Carbide ECoGs for Chronic Implants in Brain-Machine Interfaces

Camilo A. Diaz-Botia

Several technologies have been developed for interfacing with the brain such as microwires, electrode arrays, and electrocorticography (ECoG) arrays. While each of them has strengths and weaknesses, they all share a common disadvantage of limited device longevity due to a variety of failure modes; these include scar tissue formation and material failure, among others. A particularly pronounced problem is the failure of the insulating material at the insulator-conductor interfaces (e.g. recording sites and insulated conducting traces). Damage to these vital interfaces compromises...

BPN854: Wearable Ultrasound System for Chronic Neural Recording

Joshua E. Kay

Chronic monitoring of nerve activity with minimally invasive medical devices creates broad opportunities from therapeutic treatments to human augmentation. These closed-looped neural recording and modulation systems require small, low power wearable devices to enable freely moving subjects while still allowing real- time processing of recorded data. An ultrasonic backscatter system called Neural Dust (ND) demonstrated ultrasound's increased power efficiency over electromagnetic (EM) energy for sub-mm scale implantable devices used for wireless electrophysiological neural recording....

BPN714: Impedance Sensing Device to Monitor Pressure Ulcers

Amy Liao
Monica C. Lin

Chronic cutaneous wounds affect millions of people each year and take billions of dollars to treat. Formation of pressure ulcers is considered a "never event" - an inexcusable, adverse event that occurs in a healthcare setting. Current monitoring solutions (pressure-distributing beds, repositioning patients every few hours, etc) are very expensive and labor intensive. In response to this challenge, we are developing a novel, flexible monitoring device that utilizes impedance spectroscopy to measure and characterize tissue health, thus allowing physicians to objectively monitor...