FRANZ, a global ceramic brand, will cooperate with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at our university by adopting the technique developed by Professor You-Yin Chen to produce neuromorphic chips through ceramic 3D printing technology; the goal of such chips is to detect neuroelectric signals and neurotransmitter concentration as well as provide deep brain stimulation. In the future, these neuromorphic chips may be applied in medical care such as for treating neurodegenerative disorders.
The research team led by Professor Chen employed graphene, a type of nanomaterial, to develop neural-probe chips that can be inserted into the deep brain to detect neural activity, including the presentation of electrical signals and release of chemical substances, and to provide deep-brain-stimulation treatment. In this manner, the limitation that neuromorphic chips cannot be used simultaneously with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be overcome and the difference in time between diagnosis and treatment can be shortened. Accordingly, diagnosis and treatment can be integrated and performed concurrently.
Professor Chen indicated that after insertion into the human body, neuromorphic chips often exhibit unsatisfactory signal detection quality because of surgery-induced adhesions and inflammation. However, the use of reduced-graphene-oxide chips as the sensing interface yielded high conductivity. Moreover, the chips achieved satisfactory biocompatibility and signal quality with a layer of an anti-inflammatory factor that surrounded the chip, which was a novel achievement. Cerebral diseases such as autism and Alzheimer’s disease are conventionally diagnosed according to behavioral symptoms or brain imaging data. Neuromorphic chips compatible with MRI can be integrated with electrophysiological and brain imaging data to develop precision biomedical chips that can detect biological signals such as dopamine, glucose, and hydrogen peroxide according to various treatment requirements, thereby facilitating vertical integration of diagnosis and treatment.
FRANZ entered the biotechnology industry 2 years ago and has gradually extended the application of ceramic 3D printing technology from accessories and artworks to the dentistry and information and communication technology fields. FRANZ will collaborate with a brain technology project team at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University to apply ceramic 3D printing technology to clinically develop neuromorphic chips that can be implanted into the brain for detecting neuroelectric signals and neurotransmitter concentration and providing deep brain stimulation. In an animal study, the effect of the chips on neurodegenerative diseases has been verified. In the future, the chips will be applied for medical purposes to detect and treat disability involving human limbs and neurodegenerative diseases. By the third quarter this year, FRANZ plans to launch the application of the first batch of novel neural-probe chips produced through ceramic 3D printing to seize the substantial business opportunities in global animal laboratories.