Magazine article ASEE Prism

Next-Generation Implants

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Next-Generation Implants

Article excerpt

In 2012, Grégoire Courtine, a professor of life sciences at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, gained media attention - including in Prism - when he demonstrated paraplegic rats could learn to walk again using a cocktail of tissue growth-enhancing drugs, electrical stimuli to neurons, and rigorous training. Building on that research, he recently was part of a team that has developed flexible, stretchable electrodes that move in sync with brain pulses and spinal cord movements, and could result in longer lasting implants that control prosthetic limbs. Dubbed e-dura, the system mimics the protective membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal column, reducing the "substantial biomechanical mismatch between implants and neural tissues," the team wrote. The stretchy electrodes are based on a silicone substrate with gold interconnects and micro-cracks that make it more malleable. …

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