#TechTuesday: neural interfaces by INBRAIN
Welcome to our Graphene Flagship #TechTuesday series! These articles will introduce some of the latest graphene-enabled products, pioneered and commercialised by different companies within the Graphene Flagship project. Today, we unveil INBRAIN Neuroelectronics' interfaces, ready to enable effective real-time brain mapping and minimally invasive brain resection applications.
One out of three Europeans is affected by brain disorders, a problem that costs our health systems over 800 billion euros every year. Such a high incidence of brain-related disorders, including epilepsy and Parkinson’s, calls for greater investments to develop more efficient diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
This is the goal of Graphene Flagship spin-off INBRAIN Neuroelectronics, a company with participation of our partners by ICN2 and ICREA. INBRAIN has already attracted over 15 million euros in private funding. INBRAIN takes advantage of the unique properties of graphene to design intelligent high-resolution neuroelectronic systems, which in a first product enable effective real-time brain mapping and minimally invasive brain resection applications.
Graphene provides several advantages when compared to current solutions, often made of metals like platinum. Firstly, graphene is soft and extremely flexible. It behaves as an “electronic skin” that enablesperfect brain surface contact. Moreover, graphene leads to miniaturised brain sensors with a “cell like” size, up to 40,000 times smaller than platinum-based sensors. This is less invasive and avoids unwanted side-effects. Finally, graphene interfaces are easily coupled with modern electronics, contributing to the huge momentum of connected and smart devices, which is the key to future med-tech and digital health solutions.
Another key benefit of INBRAIN’s graphene-enabled brain interfaces is their high resolution.
Graphene devices offer 64 sensing dots, 16 times more than conventional platinum brain mapping grids. This gives doctors and surgeons a much-needed precision. When operating on brain tumours, for instance, INBRAIN’s system will map the biomarkers related to functional areas doctors must avoid – minimising the otherwise frequent complications of brain surgery.
In the future, INBRAIN and the Graphene Flagship will bring less invasive graphene intelligent neuroelectronic therapies to the market. These systems will decode brain signals into medical solutions. Further down the road, these devices may advance brain-computer communications and other neural engineering applications.