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New 3-D printing for producing neural probes

Posted on 18 Sep 2019 and read 871 times
New 3-D printing for producing neural probesResearchers at Carnegie Mellon University (www.cmu.edu) have been granted $1.95 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore the use of a new 3-D printing process based on ‘aerosol jet technology’ to create a new type of high-density probe that will be used to record neurological data.

The grant, awarded to researchers Rahul Panat and Eric Yttri, is part of the federal Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies project.

Mr Panat, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and a member of Carnegie’s Next Manufacturing Centre, said: “This research plans to use 3-D nanoparticle printing to fabricate customisable ultra-high-density neural probes, such as brain-machine interfaces (BMIs).

“The recording densities of these probes, which will enable medical researchers to assess the function of the brain and to stimulate certain parts of it, will be an order of magnitude higher than that of probes made by any current method.”

One of the first big milestones in the project will be to produce the first entirely 3-D printed micro-electrode array, which will be “more customised than any other electrode array in history”.

As the research progresses, the team hopes that its innovative technology will have applications in making precision medical devices — like BMIs — that can be customised to the patient’s brain structure.

“We are applying the newest advances in microelectronics manufacturing to neuroscience in order to realise the next generation of tools for the exploration of the brain.

"This research will lead to a more precise 3-D mapping of neural circuits and precision neuroprosthetic devices that can restore significantly more of patients’ previously lost functionality.

"It will also lead to new avenues for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as paraplegia and epilepsy.”