A system and method to interface with multiple groups of axons in several fascicles of peripheral nerves

J Neurosci Methods. 2015 Apr 15;244:78-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2014.07.020. Epub 2014 Aug 1.


Background: Several neural interface technologies that stimulate and/or record from groups of axons have been developed. The longitudinal intrafascicular electrode (LIFE) is a fine wire that can provide access to a discrete population of axons within a peripheral nerve fascicle. Some applications require, or would benefit greatly from, technology that could provide access to multiple discrete sites in several fascicles.

New method: The distributed intrafascicular multi-electrode (DIME) lead was developed to deploy multiple LIFEs to several fascicles. It consists of several (e.g. six) LIFEs that are coiled and placed in a sheath for strength and durability, with a portion left uncoiled to allow insertion at distinct sites. We have also developed a multi-lead multi-electrode (MLME) management system that includes a set of sheaths and procedures for fabrication and deployment.

Results: A prototype with 3 DIME leads was fabricated and tested in a procedure in a cadaver arm. The leads were successfully routed through skin and connective tissue and the deployment procedures were utilized to insert the LIFEs into fascicles of two nerves.

Comparison with existing method(s): Most multi-electrode systems use a single-lead, multi-electrode design. For some applications, this design may be limited by the bulk of the multi-contact array and/or by the spatial distribution of the electrodes.

Conclusion: We have designed a system that can be used to access multiple sets of discrete groups of fibers that are spatially distributed in one or more fascicles of peripheral nerves. This system may be useful for neural-enabled prostheses or other applications.

Keywords: Intrafascicular electrode; Multi-electrode; Neuroprosthesis; Peripheral nerve interface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrodes
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Neural Prostheses*
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology*
  • User-Computer Interface