Scientists at Germany's Technical University of Munich (TUM) and U.S.-based technology developer NTT Research four-dimensionally (4D)-printed flexible electrodes for stimulating nerves.
The self-folding electrodes wrap around nerve fibers when inserted into moist tissue via an outer biocompatible hydrogel shell that swells upon contact; the flexible interior material does not swell.
An inner titanium-gold coating sends electrical signals between the electrodes and the nerve fibers, which "allows us to both stimulate the nerves and measure nerve signals," according to TUM's Bernard Wolfrum.
The researchers used the electrodes to sheathe 100-micrometer-diameter nerve fibers in locusts harmlessly.
From Technical University of Munich (Germany)
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