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Article published in Science Translational Medicine

Closed-loop neuromodulation of spinal sensorimotor circuits controls refined locomotion after comple...

14-16 November 2012 International Conference on Neurorehabilitation

NEUWalk scientists Prof. Courtine and Prof. Micera participate in the conference.

Results published in Science and Nature Magazine

Rats with spinal cord injuries and severe paralysis are now walking thanks to researchers from NEUWa...

Experience for an effective design

For the NEUWalk project an electrode appropriate for spinal cord stimulation in humans had to be developed. With inomed’s 23 years of experience and expertise in developing and producing stimulation electrodes it was a designated task. Electrodes for medical purposes and corresponding methodologies for their application require special knowhow. With the partners IMM and FTM inomed was able to integrate results of the project partners with respect to the goal of developing and completing an electrode.

In its role as a medium sized company, inomed used its established methods of developing a useful medical stimulation electrode. Therefore not only the corresponding documentation and the methodology of its use have been provided. Other standards like market analysis, registration, and patent management as well as commercialization were professionally explored with the project partners and have been carried out according to the timeline.
The resulting electrode is supposed to become an important interface part of the NEUWalk system and methodology. Ultimate aim of the NEUWalk project and the developed electrode is to create the ability for paralyzed people to walk again in the future. Giving paralyzed people more freedom of movement means a huge step towards improving the quality of life for millions of people. Therefore a professional implementation of the design of the stimulation electrode is very important.

Thus the resulting electrode prototype, functioning as a neural interface, can be implanted in a patient’s spinal cord and tested as soon as the electrode is registered and CE marked. A subsequent commercialization is already investigated and scheduled.


Contact: Dr. Thilo Krüger, inomed Medizintechnik GmbH, Emmendingen, Germany

Innovative stretchable electronics closer to tissue

An innovative technique enables the fabrication of thin, soft, and stretchable conductive leads for multielectrode arrays with mechanical properties closer to tissue than state-of-the-art polyimide-based neural interfaces.

Patterned structures of flexible, stretchable, electrically conductive materials on soft substrates could lead to novel electronic devices with unique mechanical properties allowing them to bend, fold, stretch or conform to their environment. These electronics enable new medical applications that are not possible with rigid electronics. For example conformal electrode arrays to interface the heart and brain.

To achieve this, standard silicon or polymeric substrate materials were replaced by elastomers and one of the key technical challenges was to develop stretchable electronic materials that offer electrical conductivity of metals while enduring large repeated strains.

Within the NEUWalk project the ETHZ team around Janos Vörös and Alexandre Larmagnac developed a simple, cost-effective, cleanroom-free process to produce large scale soft electronic hardware where standard surface-mounted electrical components were directly bonded onto all-elastomeric printed circuit boards, or soft printed circuit boards (PCBs).

Such silicone-based implants can be used to stimulate or record from the brain or the spinal cord without damaging the delicate neural tissue even when implanted in the subdural region. This technology paves the way for a new generation of neuroprosthetic devices.


Contact: Prof. Dr. Janos Vörös, Laboratory of Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, ETH, Zurich