Micromodular implants to provide electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles and limbs

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 1997 Sep;44(9):781-90. doi: 10.1109/10.623047.


We describe the design, fabrication, and output capabilities of a microminiature electrical stimulator that can be injected in or near nerves and muscles. Each single-channel microstimulator consists of a cylindrical glass capsule with hermetically sealed electrodes in either end (2-mm diameter x 13-mm overall length). Power and digital control data can be transmitted to multiple implants (256 unique addresses) via a 2-MHz RF field created by an external AM oscillator and inductive coil. In vitro testing demonstrated accurate control of output pulsewidth (3-258 microseconds in 1-microseconds steps) and current (0-30 mA in two linear ranges of 16 steps each, up to 8.5 V available compliance voltage). Microstimulators were used successfully for chronic stimulation in hindlimb muscles of cats. Design and fabrication issues affecting yield and reliability of the packaging and electronics are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cats
  • Electric Impedance
  • Electric Power Supplies
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrodes
  • Equipment Failure
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Iridium
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Paralysis / rehabilitation
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology*
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Surface Properties
  • Tantalum


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Iridium
  • Tantalum