Micro-Fabrication of Components for a High-Density Sub-Retinal Visual Prosthesis


Shire DB, Gingerich MD, Wong PI, Skvarla M, Cogan SF, Chen J, Wang W, Rizzo JF. Micro-Fabrication of Components for a High-Density Sub-Retinal Visual Prosthesis. Micromachines (Basel) 2020;11(10)

Date Published:

2020 Oct 19


We present a retrospective of unique micro-fabrication problems and solutions that were encountered through over 10 years of retinal prosthesis product development, first for the Boston Retinal Implant Project initiated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Harvard Medical School's teaching hospital, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear-and later at the startup company Bionic Eye Technologies, by some of the same personnel. These efforts culminated in the fabrication and assembly of 256+ channel visual prosthesis devices having flexible multi-electrode arrays that were successfully implanted sub-retinally in mini-pig animal models as part of our pre-clinical testing program. We report on the processing of the flexible multi-layered, planar and penetrating high-density electrode arrays, surgical tools for sub-retinal implantation, and other parts such as coil supports that facilitated the implantation of the peri-ocular device components. We begin with an overview of the implantable portion of our visual prosthesis system design, and describe in detail the micro-fabrication methods for creating the parts of our system that were assembled outside of our hermetically-sealed electronics package. We also note the unique surgical challenges that sub-retinal implantation of our micro-fabricated components presented, and how some of those issues were addressed through design, materials selection, and fabrication approaches.

Last updated on 11/01/2020