Implant Systems

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The problem:

Current DBS system

Today's active implantable devices have a number of common features:

  • a single, sometimes multi-element electrode for tissue interface, and
  • a single bio-compatible electronics pod.
  • The tissue interface (data collection/delivery) and electronics packaging (housing data processing) typically constitute > 70% of COGS. 
  • This expense limits the amount of information/stimulation a device can collect/deliver and is the major limit on advances in the active implantable devices field.  
  • A radically new approach to tissue interface and packaging is required to unlock more complex therapeutic devices. 

The vision:

The medical implant of the future will be a long life, increasingly autonomous device that can emulate complex electrical, mechanical and chemical behaviours of biological systems.  It will need:

    • reliable, adaptive and provably correct behaviours;
    • new generation processing elements, sensors and actuators which are low power, effective and manufacturable;
    • distributed architectures and effective fault-tolerant communication methods for both internal and transcutaneous communication;
    • high levels of neural selectivity over potentially large volumes; and
    • components and sub-systems which are inherently reliable and easy to manufacture to allow for orders of magnitude increase in functionality 

The framework:

To unlock new therapies, NICTA's Implant Systems team is developing radically new platform technologies for:

  • Systems architectures
  • Device packaging
  • Tissue interface


These new platform technologies will facilitate the embodiment of new therapies into new implantable devices. 


Key Ideas 


First Steps

Component (Tissue interface)

  • Developed and patented a highly novel method for fabrication of neurostimulation (neuromodulation) electrode arrays.

  • The technique has the advantages of both superior mechanical and electrical performance and automated manufacture.


Developed novel approaches to chip level packaging and architectures for highly distributed neurostimulation systems employing optical data transmission.


Helping People

A vast array of existing and emerging therapies can benefit from the core technology including:

  • Obesity
  • Parkinsons disease
  • Pain management
  • Tourettes syndrome
  • Heart disease
  • Essential tremor
  • Depression
  • Deafness

We aim to add to the toolkit of technologies therapy developers have at their disposal. A sample of various approved and emerging therapies facilitated by neuromodulation are shown in the following figure:


Neuromodulation therapies