Keynote Lecturer: Thomas Stieglitz
The microelectronic revolution with its miniaturization possibilities has changed our lives significantly. Assistance systems in cars and smartphones are prominent examples of the impact of these developments for activities of daily living. At first site, cardiac pacemakers, cochlea implants and deep brain stimulators look quite similar to the devices that have been developed 30 years ago. The electronic evolution happened in the shadows in most devices but their complexity remained limited. Neural implants to interface with the peripheral and central nervous system to restore vision, deliver bidirectional control of artificial hands, or establish brain-computer interfaces to control assistive devices need complex and miniaturized implantable devices. Microsystems technologies are able to offer the tools and materials for those devices. While the application of microsystem-based tools is already established in neuroscience in preclinical research, only few approaches have been reached the patient in clinical trials or even clinical practice. This presentation gives an overview of neural implants in clinical practice and discusses the possibilities and challenges of miniaturized neural implants. It will illustrate the potential of miniaturization on the examples like brain-computer-interfaces and sensory feedback in hand control after amputation.