Friday, August 27, 2010

Carbon Nanotube Micro-electrode Array Relay System To Restore Motor Function Due To Severed Spinal Cord

Inventor Seth A Kane (Tenafly, NJ) in U.S. Patent Application 20100217339 describes a Carbon Nanotube Micro-electrode Array Relay System for Providing Nerve Stimulation output and Sensation input between Proximal and Distal ends of a damaged Spinal Cord. This device detects the signals coming from either end of a damaged spinal cord, amplifies them, and then stimulates the axons on the opposing side from which they were received. This device is intended to provide self-contained data relay for the goal of restoring function to a severed spinal cord. It is not intended for data output to an external source for analysis. This device is biocompatible and has a modular power system.

This device will provide bi-directional nerve signal detection and stimulation across proximal and distal ends of a severed spinal cord.Nerve signal detection and stimulation will be achieved through the use of arrays of carbon nanotube micro electrodes, one with a detection/stimulation surface facing the proximal end and one facing the distal end of a severed spinal cord.nanotube electrodes will occur in stimulator/sensor partner pairs on any one array with a mirrored pair of the microelectrodes on the oppositely oriented. Nanotube electrode density will be at least 500 electrodes per square centimeter. Signal relay will be achieved through a circuit which detects incoming signals from one partnered electrode pair on one array surface, amplifies it, and conducts it across to a mirrored pair on the opposite array.

This device will not impede flow of cerebral-spinal fluid through and around the spinal cord.A channel or duct will allow the unimpeded flow of cerebral-spinal fluid through the center of this device. Channels in the outer sheath of this device will allow unimpeded flow of cerebral-spinal fluid around the spinal cord. Suture-able sections of this device will allow it to be secured in place within a body without impeded cerebral-spinal fluid flow.

This device is capable of accepting various modular power systems. This device may be powered by any apparatus that can supply an appropriate power source while not impeding biocompatibility and implant-ability.

Data processing of this device is self contained.This device will provide no external data output or receive any signal modulation control.

The cross-sectional shape of this device will be dependent upon the region of the spinal cord into which it would be implanted. For each cross-sectional shape of this device, various sizes will account for the varying dimensions of the spinal cord of recipients at any specific level of the spinal cord.      

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