Neuromorphic-Based Neuroprostheses for Brain Rewiring: State-of-the-Art and Perspectives in Neuroengineering

Brain Sci. 2022 Nov 19;12(11):1578. doi: 10.3390/brainsci12111578.


Neuroprostheses are neuroengineering devices that have an interface with the nervous system and supplement or substitute functionality in people with disabilities. In the collective imagination, neuroprostheses are mostly used to restore sensory or motor capabilities, but in recent years, new devices directly acting at the brain level have been proposed. In order to design the next-generation of neuroprosthetic devices for brain repair, we foresee the increasing exploitation of closed-loop systems enabled with neuromorphic elements due to their intrinsic energy efficiency, their capability to perform real-time data processing, and of mimicking neurobiological computation for an improved synergy between the technological and biological counterparts. In this manuscript, after providing definitions of key concepts, we reviewed the first exploitation of a real-time hardware neuromorphic prosthesis to restore the bidirectional communication between two neuronal populations in vitro. Starting from that 'case-study', we provide perspectives on the technological improvements for real-time interfacing and processing of neural signals and their potential usage for novel in vitro and in vivo experimental designs. The development of innovative neuroprosthetics for translational purposes is also presented and discussed. In our understanding, the pursuit of neuromorphic-based closed-loop neuroprostheses may spur the development of novel powerful technologies, such as 'brain-prostheses', capable of rewiring and/or substituting the injured nervous system.

Keywords: brain rewiring; closed-loop; electroceuticals; hybrid neurotechnologies; in vitro; in vivo; neuromorphic; real-time.

Publication types

  • Review