EECS Department Colloquium Series
Neural Dust and Neural Interfaces
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
A major hurdle in brain-machine interfaces (BMI) is the lack of an implantable neural interface system that remains viable for a lifetime. I will discuss Neural Dust, a concept developed with Elad Alon, Jose Carmena and Jan Rabaey, which explores the fundamental system design trade-offs and ultimate size, power, and bandwidth scaling limits of neural recording systems built from low-power CMOS circuitry coupled with ultrasonic power delivery and backscatter communication. In particular, we propose an ultra-miniature as well as extremely compliant system that enables massive scaling in the number of neural recordings from the brain while providing a path towards truly chronic BMI. These goals are achieved via two fundamental technology innovations: 1) thousands of 10 - 100 \mu m scale, free-floating, independent sensor nodes, or neural dust, that detect and report local extracellular electrophysiological data, and 2) a sub-cranial interrogator that establishes power and communication links with the neural dust. I will also touch on other recent findings in our group, including micro-electrocorticography results which challenge commonly held beliefs on the ultimate resolution limits of this recording modality.
Michel M. Maharbiz is an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley.
He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley under Professor Roger T. Howe (EECS) and Professor Jay D. Keasling (ChemE); his work led to the foundation of Microreactor Technologies, Inc. which was acquired in 2009 by Pall Corporation. From 2003 to 2007, Michel Maharbiz was an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the co-founder of Tweedle Technologies, Cortera Neurotech and served as vice-president for product development at Quswami, Inc. from July 2010 to June 2011.
Prof. Maharbiz is a Bakar Fellow and was the recipient of a 2009 NSF Career Award for research into developing microfabricated interfaces for synthetic biology. His group is also known for developing the world’s first remotely radio-controlled cyborg beetles. This was named one of the top ten emerging technologies of 2009 by MIT’s Technology Review (TR10) and was in Time Magazeine’s Top 50 Inventions of 2009. Dr. Maharbiz has been a GE Scholar and an Intel IMAP Fellow. Professor Maharbiz’s current research interests include building micro/nano interfaces to cells and organisms and exploring bio-derived fabrication methods. Michel’s long term goal is understanding developmental mechanisms as a way to engineer and fabricate machines.
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