Science of Soft Robots – Interdisciplinary integration of mechatronics, material science, and bio-computing

B01-19 : Neural interface for biohybrid prosthetic arm that realize sensory and motor functions


Leader Tohru Yagi (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

We are aiming to develop an intracellular stimulation electrode array suitable for “biohybrid prosthetic arm” with sensory and motor functions. Traditionally, metal electrodes have been brought into contact with the skin surface or nerve cells to electrically connect the prosthetic arm to the body. However, for electrochemical reasons, traditional electrodes are not miniaturized, highly integrated, and cannot improve spatial resolution. In addition, the miniaturized electrodes have a low charge injection capacity and do not provide sufficient stimulation energy to ignite the cells. Therefore, intracellular stimulation by inserting an electrode into the cell membrane is effective, and stimulation can be performed even with a low charge injection amount.

Therefore, in this research, we will develop an intracellular electrode array that realizes functional connection without the electrodes coming into direct contact with nerve tissue by covering the metal electrodes with artificial cell membranes and DNA nanotubes. Intracellular stimulation electrodes that achieve high biocompatibility by softly connecting nerve tissue and electrodes in this way can be applied not only to the proposed prosthetic arm but also to the entire Brain Machine Interface (BMI). It is believed to bring about breakthroughs and improve the QOL for people with disabilities.