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Listening to Brain Microcircuits for Interfacing With External World-Progress in Wireless Implantable Microelectronic Neuroengineering Devices: Experimental systems are described for electrical recording in the brain using multiple microelectrodes and short range implantable or wearable broadcasting units.

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1
Division of Engineering, Department of Physics, and Brown Institute for Brain Science, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912 USA.

Abstract

Acquiring neural signals at high spatial and temporal resolution directly from brain microcircuits and decoding their activity to interpret commands and/or prior planning activity, such as motion of an arm or a leg, is a prime goal of modern neurotechnology. Its practical aims include assistive devices for subjects whose normal neural information pathways are not functioning due to physical damage or disease. On the fundamental side, researchers are striving to decipher the code of multiple neural microcircuits which collectively make up nature's amazing computing machine, the brain. By implanting biocompatible neural sensor probes directly into the brain, in the form of microelectrode arrays, it is now possible to extract information from interacting populations of neural cells with spatial and temporal resolution at the single cell level. With parallel advances in application of statistical and mathematical techniques tools for deciphering the neural code, extracted populations or correlated neurons, significant understanding has been achieved of those brain commands that control, e.g., the motion of an arm in a primate (monkey or a human subject). These developments are accelerating the work on neural prosthetics where brain derived signals may be employed to bypass, e.g., an injured spinal cord. One key element in achieving the goals for practical and versatile neural prostheses is the development of fully implantable wireless microelectronic "brain-interfaces" within the body, a point of special emphasis of this paper.

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