Engineers Develop Efficient Wireless Nerve Stimulator


Engineers developed the smallest volume and efficient wireless nerve stimulator, according to a study conducted on April 10, 2018.

The new wireless nerve stimulator is called as StimDust, which is short for stimulating neural dust. More sophisticated electronics are added to neural dust without sacrificing the technology’s tiny size or safety and widely expanding the range of neural dust applications. The main objective of the researchers is to get this device implanted in human body through minimally invasive procedures, which will help in monitoring and treating the disease in a real-time, patient-specific approach. StimDust is 6.5 cubic millimeters in volume and is powered wirelessly by ultrasound, which is used to power nerve stimulation at an efficiency of 82 percent.

According to the researchers, this device is the smallest deep-tissue stimulator that has the potential to stimulate major therapeutic targets in the peripheral nervous system. Rikky Muller, co-lead of the work said, “This device represents our vision of having tiny devices that can be implanted in minimally invasive ways to modulate or stimulate the peripheral nervous system, which has been shown to be efficacious in treating a number of diseases.” This study has led to the development of devices that can be charged wirelessly by ultrasound.

A single piezocrystal, which is the antenna of the system, a 1-millimeter integrated circuit, and one charge storage capacitor are the components of a StimDust. It has electrodes on the bottom that helps in making contact with a nerve through a cuff that wraps around the nerve. Apart from the device, the team of researchers developed a custom wireless protocol that gives them a large range of programmability while maintaining efficiency. StimDust is powered by just 4 microwatts and weighs 10 milligrams. Furthermore, this device was implanted in a live rodent and it showed positive results. Researchers hope that their innovation, in future, will be able to treat diseases such as heart irregularities, chronic pain, asthma or epilepsy.