Electrocorticography (ECoG) is an approach frequently used clinically to map epileptogenic regions of the brain and facilitate lesion resection surgery, and increasingly explored in brain-machine interface applications. Current devices display limitations that require trade-offs between cortical surface coverage, spatial electrode resolution, aesthetic, and risk consequences. In this talk, I report on the design and fabrication of deployable electrode arrays through a square centimeter burr hole using soft robotic actuation called 'eversion'. The deployable system consists of up to six pre-folded soft legs which contain microfabricated electrodes and strain sensors for real-time deployment monitoring. In a proof-of-concept acute surgery, the soft robotic electrode array was successfully deployed on the cortex of a minipig to record sensory cortical activity. This soft robotic neurotechnology opens promising avenues for minimally invasive cortical surgery and applications related to neurological disorders such as motor and sensory deficits.
Sukho Song is a group leader in the Laboratory of Sustainability Robotics at Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) in Switzerland. He was a postdoctoral researcher at EPFL in Switzerland and at Seoul National University in South Korea. He obtained his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University in USA, while working as a research associate at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany. Dr. Song's research sits at the intersection of microfabrication and soft robotics to develop multi-scale soft robotic devices for varied applications like bioelectronic interfaces, electronics-free operation of soft robots, and bioinspired adhesion in soft grippers.