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A Low Cost, End-to-End Multi-Channel Wireless Neural Recording System


In the past few years neural recording and stimulation technology has advanced rapidly. As new implants and electrode devices are implemented and tested, a full system capable of effectively utilizing them within a medical application has remained unrealized. A mechanism that is able to wirelessly communicate with and control such instruments would drastically increase the ease with which they can be used in scenarios such as free-moving animal experiments, medical studies, and field trials. Certain constraints come with constructing such an end-to-end device, such as limits on power, cost, and size, along with stringent performance requirements on data rates and range.

This thesis introduces a fully developed wireless neural recording system. Consisting of a multi-channel neural implant, a small microcontroller relay device, and a tablet running a control application, it is capable of recording and displaying neural data at high speed and long range. Communication between the three components is accomplished purely through wireless transmissions, utilizing inductive coils to transfer data through the patient’s tissue along with an 802.11 WiFi to establish a link and facilitate transmission between the microcontroller and control software. The control software gives the researcher freedom to specify recording parameters such as the amount of data desired, sampling speed, recording channels, and format of the data to be sent from the implant. Upon data reception, the software processes the received data, creating a time series of neural points per channel that can be graphed, displayed, and downloaded.

This modular and simple approach to an end-to-end wireless recording system will allow cutting edge neural implants to be quickly integrated into full solutions that can be used in neurological and biomedical research.

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