A billion people are estimated to suffer from neurologic or mental disorders across the world today. Poor countries, children, adolescents and elderly are disproportionally affected. The WHO alerts to a dire situation in low-income countries. Because most brain disorders result in long-term disabilities, their burden on society is enormous, not only in terms of suffering caused to patients and relatives, but also in terms of economic cost – estimated at €800 billion in Europe (Norway: €6 billion). These figures are projected to steadily increase, reflecting a demographic shift towards older populations, more at risk for dementia. As a society, we must accelerate the progress of innovation to better understand, diagnose and treat a wide range of brain disorders, this taking into consideration costs and region inequalities.
The future of brain healthcare lays in the ability to test all patients whenever there is a need, with minimally invasive procedures, and for as long as necessary. However, the equipment currently in use to read brain activity is big, complex, and expensive. With a team made of neuroscientists at the faculty of medicine (UiO) and engineers at Sintef, we aim to develop a miniaturized brain probe with wireless transmission and charging to record brain activity in rodents. We will take advantage of innovations in micro-opto-electronics, chip and wireless technologies that have revolutionised the use of smart phones, to develop a fully implantable smart brain probes that can decode and manipulate brain activity in real time in rodents. Our long-term vision is that such wireless brain probes will not only have a transformative effect on research but also be a major step towards low-cost and high-precision wearable instrumentation for early detection, prevention, and ultra-long-term monitoring of brain disorders in patients.
Almost a billion people are estimated to suffer from brain disorders across the world today, and there is an urgent need for improved diagnosis, biomarkers and treatment to combat brain diseases. Yet, development is hampered by a lack of mechanistic understanding of most brain diseases. Recent development of smart microelectronic devices hold an unused potential for ground breaking innovations in brain research. Almost one hundred years after the first EEG recording of brain activity from the scalp of a human, most recordings of brain activity is still performed with the recording device on the subject tethered to a computer. Wireless solutions in brain research have so far been limited by low data transmission, short recording time or bulky batteries and devices. WIth BrainChip, we propose to capitalise on innovations that have revolutionised the use of smart phones such as in micro-opto-electronics, chip and wireless technologies We will engineer a wireless and fully implantable smart Neuroprobe-on-a-chip, a device that can decode and manipulate neural activity in real time. This disruptive technical advancement will allow a radical increase in a subject’s freedom of movement while preserving state-of-the-art quality of recordings of neural activity. We have an ideal team to achieve this by combining expertise from the Microsystem and Nanotechnology Lab at SINTEF with neuroscientists at UiO (medical faculty). BrainChip will develop and test the Neuroprobe in a translational project of freely moving, focusing on mouse models of dementia and sleep.
Our long-term goal is to establish the Neuroprobe-on-a-chip beyond brain research and contribute towards low-cost and high-precision ambulatory instrumentation for early detection, prevention, and ultra-long-term monitoring of brain disorders in patients.
TEKNOKONVERGENS-Teknologikonvergens - grensesprengende forskning og radikal innovasjon