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Through 3D nanoparticle printing, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are creating a new class of high-density neural probes to record neurological data. For this project, associate professor of mechanical engineering Rahul Panat and assistant professor of biological sciences Eric Yttri have received a $1.95 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
As part of the federal Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, the grant supports research that will create an entirely new manufacturing method for the fabrication of brain implants based on a low-cost additive manufacturing approach.
Brain - Tumours - Diseases - Surgery - Procedures
Mapping the brain is essential for diagnosing tumours, metabolic diseases and performing surgery. Non-invasive procedures, such as brain imaging, deal with the structure, function and pharmacology of the nervous system. Major techniques of brain imaging include acoustic holography, magnetoencephalography, gamma cameras, light-sheet microscopy and electrocorticography. While these techniques can see the whole brain, Yttri explains “[…] the temporal and spatial resolution are not where we need them to be.”
On the other hand, implants can record and stimulate electrical signals from single neurons or neural networks in the brain. Microscale implants such as neural probes are composed of arrays of electrodes connected to a neural recording chip. “Electrodes can give us millisecond, single neuron resolution,” Yttri explained. “But even with the most recent advances you might only be able to get information from 300 or 400 neurons at a time.”
Arrays - Electrodes - Probes - Use - Number
Many existing 2D and 3D arrays of electrodes are prohibitively fragile and expensive. This renders many neural probes impractical for use in a number of contexts. Existing arrays also have a relatively low density of electrodes. As a result, the high resolution required for applications such as precision neuroprosthetics cannot be achieved by current probes.
Combining their expertise in neuroscience and additive manufacturing, Panat and Yttri together are developing an entirely 3D printed...
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