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Conference Paper

State of the art and future prospects of nanotechnologies in the field of brain-computer interfaces


Klados,  Manousos
Max Planck Research Group Neuroanatomy and Connectivity, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Athanasiou, A., Klados, M., Astaras, A., Foroglou, N., Magras, I., & Bamidis, P. D. (2016). State of the art and future prospects of nanotechnologies in the field of brain-computer interfaces. In E. Kyriacou, S. Christofides, & C. S. Pattichis (Eds.), XIV Mediterranean conference on medical and biological engineering and computing 2016 (pp. 456-460). Cham, Germany: Springer.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-2202-5
Neuroprosthetic control by individuals suffering from tetraplegia has already been demonstrated using implanted microelectrode arrays over the patients’ motor cortex. Based on the state of the art of such micro & nano-scale technologies, we review current trends and future prospects for the implementation of nanotechnologies in the field of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs), with brief mention of current clinical applications. Micro- and Nano-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS, NEMS) and micro-Electrocorticography now belong to the mainstay of neurophysiology, producing promising results in BCI applications, neurophysiological recordings and research. The miniaturization of recording and stimulation systems and the improvement of reliability and durability, decrease of neural tissue reactivity to implants, as well as increased fidelity of said systems are the current foci of this technology. Novel concepts have also begun to emerge such as nanoscale integrated circuits that communicate with the macroscopic environment, neuronal pattern nano-promotion, multiple biosensors that have been “wired” with piezoelectric nanomechanical resonators, or even “neural dust” consisting of 10-100μm scale independent floating low-powered sensors. Problems that such technologies have to bypass include a minimum size threshold and the increase in power to maintain a high signal-to-noise-ratio. Physiological matters such as immunological reactions, neurogloia or neuronal population loss should also be taken into consideration. Progress in scaling down of injectable interfaces to the muscles and peripheral nerves is expected to result in less invasive BCI-controlled actuators (neuroprosthetics in the micro and nano scale). The state-of-the-art of current microtechnologies demonstrate a maturing level of clinical relevance and promising results in terms of neural recording and stimulation. New MEMS and NEMS fabrication techniques and novel design and application concepts hold promise to address current problems with these technologies and lead to less invasive, longer lasting and more reliable BCI systems in the near future.