Office for Technology Commercialization

DBS Probe with an Array of Flexible, Independent Stimulators

Technology #20170101

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DBS ElectrodeDBS LeadNeuromodulation
Suhasa Kodandaramaiah, PhD
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
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Silvia Mangia
Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology
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Shalom Michaeli, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Radiology
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Lauri Lehto, PhD
Research Associate, Department of Radiology
Gregory Johnson
Graduate student, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UMN
Olli Gröhn, PhD
A.I Virtanen Institute for Molecular Science, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
Managed By
Kevin Nickels
Technology Licensing Officer 612-625-7289

Efficient Deep Brain Stimulation with Spatiotemporal Tuning

Flex-fabrication design enables new methods of deep brain stimulation (DBS) by combining phase and amplitude modulated pulses with a Flex-DBS probe. The device consists of an array of flexible, independently actuatable, multi-channel stimulators housed inside an implant. The stimulators slide inside individual conduits and the implant’s distal end flares the electrodes radially outward as the motor array drives them distally. Each stimulation fiber contains up to 16 electrodes and can be custom fabricated based on macroscopic bundling and thermal extrusion techniques.

Current DBS Leads have Limited Accessibility

Current DBS leads are configured cylindrically, which limits accessibility of the stimulation electric fields to a target of interest with a complicated 3D structure, rendering them unable to provide efficient 3D voltage steering. The Flex-DBS system can be used to create rotating (rather than unidirectional) electrical fields, providing spatiotemporal control of the electrical field direction in 3D space, creating electric fields parallel to axons with specific orientation. The strategies identify a new course for selective neuromodulation based on axonal fiber orientation, which naturally extends from in-plane stimulation to three-dimensional (3D) space, a concept called Rotating Field Phase Steering (RFPS). The reconfigurable Flex-DBS probe solves current target selection precision problems by exploiting the 3D capability of the lead of stimulating entire volume of interest, a design that increases precision of target selection during DBS.


  • Spatiotemporally tuned
  • Efficient deep brain stimulation
  • Flex-DBS probe combines phase and amplitude modulated pulses
  • Flexible, independently actuatable, multi-channel stimulators
  • Electrodes flared radially outward as the motor array drives them distally.
  • Creates rotating (rather than unidirectional) electrical fields
  • Spatiotemporal control of the electrical field direction in 3D space


  • DBS electrodes
  • Neurosurgery medical devices
  • Sophisticated multichannel and multifunctional neural probes for basic scientific research
  • Parkinson's disease(PD)
  • Essential tremor
  • Neurological and psychiatric disorders (e.g., obsessive compulsive disorder and depression)

Phase of Development - Concept; conceptual design and initial simulations completed

Interested in Licensing?
The University relies on industry partners to scale up technologies to large enough production capacity for commercial purposes. The license is available for this technology and would be for the sale, manufacture or use of products claimed by the issued patents. Please contact Kevin Nickels to share your business needs and technical interest in this DBS technology and if you are interested in licensing the technology for further research and development.