This semester, I’ve really enjoyed my Neural Implant Engineering class. It’s taught by Prof. Weiland and Prof. Berger. Prof. Weiland was one of the main engineers and developers behind the Argus II retinal prosthetic. Prof. Berger is working on developing a cognitive prosthesis. It feels surreal to learn from pioneers in their respective fields.
In the first part of the class, we focused on the characteristics of good neural implant design, safety limits, efficient power usage, and packaging. We looked at how changing electrode design or resistance affected its ability to stimulate a neuron:
We also modeled how a neuron would behave in response to various injections of current or voltage using the modeling software NEURON:
In the second half of the class, we are learning about mechanistic versus input-output models of neurons and neural networks. One focuses on how the system works and the other focuses on what happens to the output with a certain input. We are using a neuron-to-neuron interaction modeling software, called EONS, that was developed at USC! Below is one of the synaptic transmission simulations I ran:
This class is inspiring, but I’m nervous about the final exam.
Published on April 2nd, 2016
Last updated on January 20th, 2021