Wireless Communications for Optogenetics-Based Brain Stimulation: Present Technology and Future Challenges

Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, Stefanus A. Wirdatmadja, Michael Taynnan Barros, Yevgeni Koucheryavy, Michal Stachowiak, Josep Miquel Jornet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to decipher brain functions and understand the neuronal communication networking properties to develop innovative solutions to treat neurodegenerative diseases remains one of the biggest challenges in biomedicine. Since the early days, numerous solutions have been proposed for BMI, largely concentrating on the use of tethered electrodes that are inserted into the brain to either stimulate or suppress neural activities. In recent years, the field of optogenetics has provided a new alternative of utilizing light to stimulate genetically engineered neurons. While the original approach proposed the use of tethered optical cables inserted into the skull to transfer light into the brain for stimulation, numerous advances have been made to incorporate wireless technologies that will allow these devices to be attached to the skull or implanted in the brain. This article presents a review on the current technologies that have been proposed for different wireless optogenetics solutions, ranging from devices that are head mounted to miniature devices that can be embedded deep in the brain. We focus on a comparative analysis of the architecture and structure of the devices, the wireless technology used for signaling to the unit, as well as the energy consumption profile for each of the devices. Finally, the article presents future challenges to further miniaturize wireless optogenetic devices, concentrating specifically on the communication properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8419204
Pages (from-to)218-224
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Communications Magazine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


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