Brain-Implantable Biomimetic Electronics as the Next Era in Neural Prosthetics

Theodore W. Berger, Michel Baudry, Roberta Diaz, Liaw Brinton, Vasilis Z. Marmarelis, Alex Yoondong Park, Bing J. Sheu, Armand R. Tanguay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


An Interdisciplinary multilaboratory effort to develop an implantable neural prosthetic that can coexist and bidirectionally communicate with living brain tissue is described. Although the final achievement of such a goal is many years in the future, it is proposed that the path to an implantable prosthetic is now definable, allowing the problem to be solved in a rational, incremental manner. Outlined in this report is our collective progress in developing the underlying science and technology that will enable, the functions of specific brain damaged regions to be replaced by multichip modules consisting of novel hybrid analog/digital microchips. The component microchips are "neurocomputational" incorporating experimentally based mathematical models of the nonlinear dynamic and adaptive properties of biological neurons and neural networks. The hardware developed to date, although limited in capacity, can perform computations supporting cognitive functions such as pattern recognition, but more generally will support any brain function for which there is sufficient experimental information. To allow the "neurocomputational" multichip module to communicate with existing brain tissue, another novel microcircuitry element has been developed-silicon-based multielectrode arrays that are "neuromorphic, " i.e., designed to conform to the region-specific cytoarchitecture of the brain. When the "neurocomputational" and "neuromorphic" components are fully integrated, our vision is that the resulting prosthetic, after intracranial implantation, will receive electrical impulses from targeted subregions of the brain, process the information using the hardware model ofthat brain region, and communicate back to the functioning brain. The proposed prosthetic microchips also have been designed with parameters that can be optimized after implantation, allowing each prosthetic to adapt to a particular user/patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-1011
Number of pages19
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomimetic signal processing
  • Hippocampus
  • Mixed signal
  • Multisite electrode array
  • Neural engineering
  • Neural network
  • Neural prosthetic
  • Neuron-silicon interface
  • Pattern recognition
  • VLSI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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