Two cortical prosthetics technologies receive enable grants

© 2022 EPFL

© 2022 EPFL

A pair of patent-pending technologies from a joint research project in the School of Engineering has received funding from EPFL’s enable program, which will support the development of prototypes.

Gian Luca Barbruni is a PhD researcher working with Diego Ghezzi (Medtronic Chair in Neuroengineering) and Sandro Carrara (Integrated Circuits Laboratory), in the School of Engineering (STI). The trio has been awarded two enable grants to support the prototyping of technologies developed within the framework of their EPFL Interdisciplinary Seed Fund project, "Smart Neural Dust to Revert Blindness".

First naked neural dust prototype compared to human fingerprints © Gian Luca Barbruni (LNE-ICLAB)

The goal of this project is to create a freestanding array of individually addressable electrodes for the wireless stimulation of the human visual cortex. The researchers have already filed two international patent applications for two innovative technologies arising from the project, which focus on the development of smart neural dusts – a term used to describe nanometer-scale sensors for brain-computer interfaces.

Now, with the Enable fund’s support, the researchers will be able to prototype and refine the two technologies: MINT-CMOS (Microelectrodes INTegrated with CMOS), which enables the co-fabrication of a neural interface with electronics; and WIMOS-RESS (WIreless MOdular Switching RESonator System), which is an inductive architecture that simultaneously increases power and the number of implants that can be powered.


    The enable grant is open to all EPFL researchers to help them move their ideas out of the lab. enable awards grants to a maximum amount of CHF 30,000 for projects in the early stages of development to support activities including prototype development, commercial strategy validation, and feasibility studies.


    Barbruni, Gian Luca, et al. "Miniaturised wireless power transfer systems for neurostimulation: A review." IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems 14.6 (2020): 1160-1178.

    Barbruni, Gian Luca, et al. "A 20 Mbps, 433 MHz RF ASK Transmitter to Inductively Power a Distributed Network of Miniaturised Neural Implants." 2021 IEEE International Symposium on Medical Measurements and Applications (MeMeA). IEEE, 2021.

    Barbruni, Gian Luca, et al. "Ultra-Miniaturised CMOS Current Driver for Wireless Biphasic Intracortical Microstimulation." 2022 11th International Conference on Modern Circuits and Systems Technologies (MOCAST). IEEE, 2022.