With advances in wireless communications, medicine, and biocompatible electronics, novel ideas to seamlessly integrate information technology and bioelectromagnetics toward the development of wireless implantable biomedical devices need to be explored. Bioelectromagnetic phenomena are intrinsic to the vital function of all living tissues, and a thorough understanding of both the internal electromagnetic fields and the coupling of external electromagnetic fields to the human body represent a challenge that will significantly contribute to the development of new biomedical devices for the 21st century. The objective of this proposal is to bring about fundamental advances toward the development of novel wireless transcutaneous electromagnetic devices for biomedical applications by integrating in the same framework macro- and micro-scale phenomena. The study will start from considering the development of suitable antenna systems for power and data telemetry between units internal and external to the human body, to reach the level of understanding how induced and spontaneous electrical signals can be meaningfully used in the development of biomedical devices. Macro-scale interactions of exogenous and endogenous electromagnetic fields in the human body will be interfaced with microbioelectromagnetic modeling, with the focus on characterizing exposure and excited electrical activity at the cellular and molecular level. Such studies will help in understanding and elucidating the mechanisms of interaction of electromagnetic fields with biological tissues, with potential applications to neural responses to electromagnetic excitations. Full-wave Finite-Difference Time-Domain based numerical methods will be used for this complete modeling effort, with integration of quasi-static methods for the low frequency modeling of neural responses. Experimental systems to test the performance of the developed implantable wireless links will be fabricated, while computational models of the neural responses will be validated through collaboration with researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The impact of the proposed research activity will extend from the development of a epiretinal prosthesis to restore sight in over 10,000,000 visually impaired to the development of wireless devices for sensing the daily evolution of cancer. Collaborations with the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute and biomedical companies are already in place to provide the necessary medical help and expertise. This project will offer a unique research environment with strong interdisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations that will provide graduate and undergraduate students an unprecedented exposure to innovative technologies for the 21st century. New educational approaches aimed to present a broader system-oriented view of the role of electromagnetics and bioelectromagnetics in today's and tomorrow's technology will be pursued to expose students early in their career to a new and timely perspective of careers in engineering electromagnetics and bioelectromagnetics.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS)
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Rongqing Hui
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North Carolina State University Raleigh
United States
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