A low-power integrated circuit for a wireless 100-electrode neural recording system

Reid R. Harrison, Paul T. Watkins, Ryan J. Kier, Robert O. Lovejoy, Daniel J. Black, Bradley Greger, Florian Solzbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

682 Scopus citations


Recent work in field of neuroprosthetics has demonstrated that by observing the simultaneous activity of many neurons in specific regions of the brain, it is possible to produce control signals that allow animals or humans to drive cursors or prosthetic limbs directly through thoughts. As neuroprosthetic devices transition from experimental to clinical use, there is a need for fully-implantable amplification and telemetry electronics in close proximity to the recording sites. To address these needs, we developed a prototype integrated circuit for wireless neural recording from a 100-channel microelectrode array. The design of both the system-level architecture and the individual circuits were driven by severe power constraints for small implantable devices; chronically heating tissue by only a few degrees Celsius leads to cell death. Due to the high data rate produced by 100 neural signals, the system must perform data reduction as well. We use a combination of a low-power ADC and an array of "spike detectors" to reduce the transmitted data rate while preserving critical information. The complete system receives power and commands (at 6.5 kb/s) wirelessly over a 2.64-MHz inductive link and transmits neural data back at a data rate of 330 kb/s using a fully-integrated 433-MHz FSK transmitter. The 4.7 × 5.9 mm 2 chip was fabricated in a 0.5-μm 3M2P CMOS process and consumes 13.5 mW of power. While cross-chip interference limits performance in single-chip operation, a two-chip system was used to record neural signals from a Utah Electrode Array in cat cortex and transmit the digitized signals wirelessly to a receiver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-133
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomedical electronics
  • FSK transmitter
  • Low-power circuit design
  • Neural amplifier
  • Neuroprosthetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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