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Restoring visual perception using microsystem technologies

Engineering and manufacturing perspectives
: Krisch, I.; Hosticka, B.J.


Sakas, D.:
Operative Neuromodulation. Vol.2: Neural Networks Surgery
Wien: Springer, 2007 (Acta Neurochirurgica. Supplementum 97/2, Supplement)
ISBN: 3-211-33080-1
ISBN: 978-3-211-33080-7
Book Article
Fraunhofer IMS ()
Retina-Implant; visual prosthesis; retinitis pigmentosa; neuromodulation; microsystem; Retina

Microsystem technologies offer significant advantages in the development of neural prostheses. In the last two decades, it has become feasible to develop intelligent prostheses that are fully implantable into the human body with respect to functionality, complexity, size, weight, and compactness. Design and development enforce collaboration of various disciplines including physicians, engineers, and scientists. The retina implant system can be taken as one sophisticated example of a prosthesis which bypasses neural defects and enables direct electrical stimulation of nerve cells. This micro implantable visual prosthesis assists blind patients to return to the normal course of life. The retina implant is intended for patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa or macular degeneration.
In this contribution, we focus on the epiretinal prosthesis and discuss topics like system design, data and power transfer, fabrication, packaging and testing. In detail, the system is based upon an implantable micro electro stimulator which is powered and controlled via a wireless inductive link. Microelectronic circuits for data encoding and stimulation are assembled on flexible substrates with an integrated electrode array. The implant system is encapsulated using parylene C and silicone rubber. Results extracted from experiments in vivo demonstrate the retinotopic activation of the visual cortex.