Minimally Invasive Epidural/Subdural Electrocorticography Device

Categories: “Medical & Research Devices”, “Neurological Disorders”

Reference: #: 2020-019

OTC Contact: Zeinab Abouissa M.S.
Phone: 202-687-2702


Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) have many applications for restoring function in individuals with impaired neurologic functions. The purpose of a BCI falls into one of two categories: to record and decode neural activity for use in controlling one or more actuators, or to encode neural activity via stimulation.

Current micro-electrocorticography (μECoG) devices are sufficient for being placed over areas of motor cortex for control of a limb or computer actuator with as small as single-gyrus resolution (Figure 1, top). However, due to the complex nature and multifaceted network representations within the human cortex, no such devices are capable of recording over an area large enough for sufficient information transfer while facilitating the BCI for complex tasks such as language synthesis (highlighted regions, Figure 1).

Researchers at Georgetown University’s Department of Neuroscience invented a novel neurological, minimally invasive device comprised of a large assembly of μECoG bead electrodes capable of being implanted through a small burr hole in the skull, and externally guided, thus creating a high-density array covering a large area of the brain cortex (Figure 1). It is thus possible to implant large μECoG arrays spanning multiple brain regions in a minimally invasive fashion. The less invasive nature of the device largely increases patient tolerance of chronic BCI in neural speech prostheses, control of artificial limbs, and other actuators. The device allows surgeons to stimulate, record electrical activity from, and/or map over multiple brain regions of the cortical surface for facilitation of the BCI.

The alignment of this idea with a real clinical need was validated through dozens of interviews with neuromuscular specialists, neurosurgeons, hospital administrators, and speech pathologists.

Figure 1. Current high density μECoG device is minimally invasive with a low profile for chronic implants to facilitate the BCI. Our device is sufficiently larger than other devices such as the link, the stentrode, and the neural matrix, making our device better suited for BCI’s requiring broad cortical coverage such as speech prosthesis or multi-actuator interfaces. Schematic comparison of other devices (top) overlayed on brain with highlighted regions necessary for speech prosthesis (Adapted from: Speech synthesis from neural decoding of spoken sentences, Anumanchipalli et al., 2019, Nature.) compared with our device shows that these devices are too small for network wide


Jian-Young Wu, Ph.D.

Daniel Chapman, M.D./Ph.D. Candidate


Patent application filed