Injectable Flexible Electronic Implant to Cover Large Brain Regions

Brain implants that sense and interact with neural activity are very limited in their coverage area and how well they integrate with nearby tissue. At Harvard University researchers developed an injectable electronic brain implant that unfurls once positioned, allowing it to cover a large area while letting the body’s cells penetrate through its holes.

The mesh, less than a micrometer in thickness, is rolled up and squeezed into a needle only 100 micrometers in diameter. It has 16 electrical components, including electrodes and transistors, at some of the nodes where individual wire strands meet up. The team tested the brain implant in laboratory mice, showing that neural cells grew into the mesh and the device seemingly didn’t cause an immune response after five weeks of wear.

Besides using this technology for brain-computer interfaces and other neural implants, the researchers believe it has potential for use in other difficult to reach parts of the body, as well as being injected alongside other implants that together can offer advanced new capabilities.