Microsystem-based Neural Prostheses
SPEAKER: Dr. Thomas Stieglitz
Neural Prosthetics Group,
Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering
Ensheimer Strasse 48, D-66386
St. Ingbert, Germany
Technical devices are well known for centuries to aid physicians as well in the diagnosis of diseases as in therapy and rehabilitation. Devices that interface with the nervous system to restore sensor or motor functions after diseases or traumatic lesions were called neural prostheses. Since microsystem technologies led to smaller dimensions and higher integration densities, even very complex implants with a high number of functional channels and spatial restriction due to physiology seems to be feasible, as the worldwide approaches for a retina implant showed during the last years. Materials and technologies develop chronically implantable microsystems for partial restoration of body functions after neural injuries or neural interfaces are discussed on the example of electrodes to contact nerves after amputation trauma. An implant restoring grasp after spinal cord injury describes a neural prosthesis in an actuator pathway while the research on a retina implant represents the sensor pathway. Physicochemical evaluation and cytotoxicity has been tested in vitro. The structural biocompatibility has been evaluated in chronic implantations as well as the functionality of the bi-directional bio-electric interfaces to the nerves for recording and stimulation.
Thomas Stieglitz (Germany), born in 1965, studied electrical engineering at the universities of technology in Braunschweig and Karlsruhe with special emphasis on biomedical engineering. He joined the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering in 1993 and obtained his doctoral degree (summa cum laude) at the Saarland University in 1998 with the design and development of flexible multichannel microelectrodes for interfacing nerves. For the results of his thesis he received the award of the German Society of Biomedical Engineering and the Science Award of the Saarland State. Since 2002 he is heading the Neural Prosthetics group at IBMT. Thomas Stieglitz qualified as a university lecturer (Habilitation) in 2002 at the Saarland University about approaches for long-term stability of neural prostheses and biohybrid systems.
Thomas Stieglitz is member of the IEEE-EMBS, the International Society for Functional Electrical Stimulation (IFESS), the German Engineering Society (VDI) and the German Society for Biomedical Engineering (DGBMT) within the German Electrotechnical Society (VDE) where he is chair of the Functional Stimulation Section.