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Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems
Engineering Research Center
University of Southern California

1450 San Pablo Street
DVRC - 130
Los Angeles, CA 90033

T. 323-442-6786
F. 323-442-6790



Research

 

BMES research is dedicated to the development of implantable microelectronics for the treatment of presently incurable disease.  Our research is focused on the development of data and power telemetry, implantable materials, and microelectronics to create implantable devices to treat visual and neurological disorders.

 

Research Vision

Our vision is to develop transformative neural prostheses. We will achieve our vision through the science and engineering of novel biomimetic microelectronic systems (BMES) based on fundamental principles of biology. The newly developed systems will allow bi-directional communication with tissue and by doing so enable implantable/portable microelectronic devices to treat presently incurable human diseases such as blindness and certain cognitive impairments. The overall technical merit of this center lies in developing disruptive rather than incremental advancement in technology.

 

 

The broader impact to society will come not only from alleviating human suffering and improving quality of life, but also by reducing the health care costs now directed to assist people with disabilities. Using similar technologies, cochlear implants have already restored functional hearing to over 100,000 deaf patients around the world1,2. Even if only 20,000 blind patients were helped over a 20-year period, an estimated 4 billion US federal dollars would be saved3. Similarly, cortical prostheses that even partially restore cognitive function lost due to brain trauma and dementia could reduce the disabilities of hundreds of thousands4.

 

 

Research Areas

Currently, our research efforts cover topics:

- MEMS
- Implantable Microelectronics
- Microelectronics Packaging
- Surface Chemistry & Surface Modification
- Polymer Chemistry
- Electrochemistry
- Image Processing
- Nanotechnology
- Computational Modeling
- Ceramics and Alloys

Fields of science, medicine and engineering that are covered:

- Biomedical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Materials Science & Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Ophthalmology
- Neurology
- Orthopedics

 

Research Projects

Our research projects focus on study of core challenges related to the development of implantable solutions to treatment of retinal degenerative and neurological degenerative diseases.  These challenges are broken down into a hierarchy where fundamental research in science, engineering and medicine is used to create Enabling Technologies.  These Enabling Technologies are then combined to create Systems that are then implemented to solve the medical challenge (Testbed).  More details are available in our Strategic Framework page.

 

 

Research Teams

Research Team: Our research teams are multi-disciplinary groups of scientists and researchers from three (3) primary institutions: University of Southern California, U. California Santa Cruz, and The California Institute of Technology, and supporting affiliated institutions like University of Kentucky and Wake Forest University.  More information regarding our research groups and their activities can be found on our Strategic Framework page.

 

Advisory Teams:

The BMES research effort receives guidance from three primary Advisory Boards: the BMES Executive Advisory Board, the BMES Scientific Advisory Board, and the BMES Industrial Advisory Board.

 

 

 

Research Project Selection

Projects are selected and evaluated by the ERC Director, Deputy Director, and thrust leaders.  The selection criteria focus on the importance of the project to the overall mission, vision, and values of our BMES ERC. The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) also provide input into the value of each project and suggest new areas of research. The testbed and thrust leaders are responsible for integrating projects to achieve the BMES ERC’s deliverables.  Testbed and thrust leaders report project progress at monthly faculty meetings.  All projects are assessed at the end of the each year to ensure progress towards the stated milestones.

 

 

1.  http://www.nfb.org/nfb/blindness_statistics.asp

2.  J. S. Hayes, J. T. Yin, D. V. Piyathaisere, J. D. Weiland, M. S. Humayun, and G. Dagnelie, "Visually guided performance of simple tasks using simulated prosthetic vision," Artif Organs, vol. 27, pp. 1016, 2003.

3.  K. Cha, K. W. Horch, R. A. Normann, and D. K. Boman, "Reading speed with a pixelized vision system," J Opt Soc Am [A], vol. 9, pp. 673, 1992.

4.  Kuritz, T., et al. (2005), 'Molecular photovoltaics and the photoactivation of mammalian cells', IEEE Trans Nanobioscience, 4 (2), 196-200.