Soft, wireless and subdermally implantable recording and neuromodulation tools

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Progress in understanding neuronal interaction and circuit behavior of the central and peripheral nervous system (PNS) strongly relies on the advancement of tools that record and stimulate with high fidelity and specificity. Currently, devices used in exploratory research predominantly utilize cables or tethers to provide pathways for power supply, data communication, stimulus delivery and recording, which constrains the scope and use of such devices. In particular, the tethered connection, mechanical mismatch to surrounding soft tissues and bones frustrate the interface leading to irritation and limitation of motion of the subject, which in the case of fundamental and preclinical studies, impacts naturalistic behaviors of animals and precludes the use in experiments involving social interaction and ethologically relevant three-dimensional environments, limiting the use of current tools to mostly rodents and exclude species such as birds and fish. This review explores the current state-of-the-art in wireless, subdermally implantable tools that quantitively expand capabilities in analysis and perturbation of the central and PNS by removing tethers and externalized features of implantable neuromodulation and recording tools. Specifically, the review explores power harvesting strategies, wireless communication schemes, and soft materials and mechanics that enable the creation of such devices and discuss their capabilities in the context of freely-behaving subjects. Highlights of this class of devices includes wireless battery-free and fully implantable operation with capabilities in cell specific recording, multimodal neural stimulation and electrical, optogenetic and pharmacological neuromodulation capabilities. We conclude with a discussion on translation of such technologies, which promises routes towards broad dissemination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041001
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • implantable devices
  • neural recording
  • neuromodulation
  • soft electronics
  • wireless power transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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