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Unravelling The Mind-Body Connection With Power-Efficient IC Chip Jointly Developed By A*STAR IME, Nanyang Technological University And National University of Singapore (NUS)

11/22/2013 11:08:23 AM

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1. Singapore, 21 Nov 2013 - Despite the adv ances in neuroscience research, the human brain remains a complex puzzle with questions unanswered on how it controls human behaviour, cognitive functi ons and movements. Scientists from A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics (IME ), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS) have jointly developed and demonstrated an integrated circuit (IC) ch ip with record-low power consumption for direct recording of brain activities. This breakthrough minimises the patient’s exposure to electromagnetic radiation and heat during the recording process, making it possible to int egrate greater number of c hannels (>100 channels) to acquire more comprehensive profile of br ain signals, paving the way to unlock the mystery behind the comp lex mind-body connection.

2. Neural recording system is a vital tool to acquire and process brain signals, and is also applied in artificial limb cont rol (or neural prosthesis) treatments for paralyzed patients. The system comprises mu ltiple electrodes for data acquisition and is implanted within the skull during the operation. The implantability of the system places tight limits on its size and power consumption, while at the same time demanding sufficient performance to record good quality data.

3. The joint team from IM E, NTU and NUS demonstrated for the first time, a 100- channel neural-recording IC which has a re cord low power consumption of 0.94 ? W per channel and the ability to deliver high quality signal recording. Compared to current state-of -the-art neural recording ICs, the new Singapore-developed IC can operate at just 0.45 V s upply voltage, half of what is typically required to achieve similar performance. The new 100- channel IC chip has also successfully recorded the neural signals of an anesthet ized Sprague-Dawley rat, bringing the innovation a step closer to clinical deployment.

4. Dr Je Minkyu, Deputy Director of t he Integrated Circuits and Systems Laboratory at IME, commented, “The breakthrough is made possible using an innovative multi-supply-voltage scheme and dynamic-range folding appr oach in the circuit architecture to achieve low-voltage, lo w power consumption without trading off high performance data acquisition.”

“To realise a fully implantable neural re cording system, we are also working with other departments on the neur al probe design and materials, as well as the incorporation of drug de livery capability.”

5. Professor Dim-Lee Kwong, Executive Directo r of IME, said, “The outcome of the partnership presents tr emendous potential to advanc e neuroscience research and to restore functions of brain-injured patients. We expect IME’s expertise in circuit design, sensor research, adv anced packaging, and deep capabilities in fabrication know-how to contribute st rongly in this application space.”

6. Assistant Professor Y uanjin Zheng, Programme Director, VIRTUS IC Design Center of Excellence at NTU, said, “Being able to develop a power efficient chip which can record multi-channel neural sign als simultaneously is a testament to NTU’s deep expertise and vast experience in designing integrated circuits. NTU is also well-known for engaging in interdis ciplinary research especially in the areas of Innovation and Future Healthcare, which we leveraged upon to help bridge the gap between neural science rese arch and clinical applications.”

7. Associate Professor Gavin Dawe from Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National Univer sity of Singapore and Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology (SINAPSE), said “As experts in neurophysiology our group at NUS worked closely with the rest of the team from IME and NTU to complete preclinical tests on the performance of t he device recording neuronal activity in living brain tissue. This power-efficient yet high performance device for recording neural signals will enable ne w possibilities for developm ent of implantable brain interfaces allowing paralyzed patients to control wheel c hairs or robotic arms with their minds.”

Media Contact:

For IME:

Dr. Song Shin Miin

Institute of Microelectronics

DID: (65) 6770-5317


For NTU:

Mr Danny Cham


Corporate Communications Office

Nanyang Technological University

DID: 6592 3557


For NUS:

Ms Crystal MK

Senior Assistant M

anager, Communications

National University Health System

Tel: +65 6772 3986


About Institute of Mi croelectronics (IME)

The Institute of Microelectroni cs (IME) is a research institute of the Science and Engineering Research Council of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Positioned to bridge the R&D be tween academia and industry, IME's mission is to add value to Singapore's semiconductor industry by developing strategic competencies, innovative technologies and inte llectual property; enabl ing enterprises to be technologically competitive; and cultivating a technology talent pool to inject new knowledge to the industry. It s key research areas are in integrated circuits design, advanced packaging, bioelectronics and medi cal devices, MEMS, nanoelectronics, and photonics. For more informati on about IME, please visit .

About Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

The Agency for Science, Technology and Re search (A*STAR) is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research an d talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences, and physical 4 sciences and engineering research institutes , and seven consortia & centre, which are located in Biopolis and Fusio nopolis, as well as their i mmediate vicinity. A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, hospitals, research centres, and with other local and inte rnational partners. Please visit

About Nanyang Technol ogical University

A research-intensive public university, N anyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduat e students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & So cial Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, t he Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world- class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam Sc hool of International Stud ies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (E RI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).

A fast-growing university with an internati onal outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.

Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore’s science and tech hub, one-north , and a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.

About the NUS Yong Loo Lin Sc hool of Medicine (YLLSoM)

Established in 1905, the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine was the first institution of higher learning in Sing apore and the genesis of what would become the National University of Singapore. The School offe rs one of the finest undergraduate medical programs in the Asia Pacific region and commands international recognition and respect. The latest university rankings from Quacqarelli Symonds (QS) have again rated the School as Asia’s best for the third c onsecutive year. Globally, it is now ranked 20 th , up one spot from it s 2012 ranking.

The School admits 300 student s to its medical undergraduate degree programme annually. It strives to fulfill its tripartite mi ssion of providing excellent clinical care, training the next generation of healthcare prof essionals, and fostering research that will transform the practice of medi cine. It plays a pivotal role in producing future leaders in healthcare delivery, discovery and public serv ice as well as in Si ngapore’s Biomedical Sciences Initiative and Singapore Medicine, an initiative to further develop as a regional medical center.

The School’s 16 departments in the basic sciences and clinical specialties work closely with the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies and the Centre for Biomedical Ethics to ensure that teaching and research are ali gned and relevant to Singapore’s healthcare needs.

For more information about the Yong Loo Li n School of Medicine, please visit

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