(updated June 2012)
(Feb 2012: this page is getting dated; will update soon…)
Our group is interested in pushing the boundaries of technological fusion between the synthetic and living organisms. In this context, we’ve demonstrated multi-modal free-flight control of living insects over several publications. This work’s impact extends beyond the demonstration of insects as controllable micro air vehicles, in the long term, to the creation of hybrid synthetic/organic machines which exploit the best of both worlds: the merging of man-made computation and communication with the advantages of organic multi-cellular systems. We have become increasingly interested in chronic fusion of high bandwidth synthetic interfaces to insect sensory organs and in extreme miniaturization (e.g. a musca domestica cyborg). Recently, several of us in the group have begun discussing the long-term ethical implications of these issues; we’ve tentatively started to collect that here but it is still in its infancy. At its core, much of this work is an exploration of how the rapid pace of computation and communication miniaturization is swiftly blurring the line between the technological base that created us and the technological based we’ve created.
- Amol Jadhav, Ivan Aimo, Daniel Cohen, Peter Ledochowitsch and Michel Maharbiz, “Microfabricated Neural Interfaces Implanted During the Development of Insect Sensory Organs Produce Stable Neurorecordings in the Adult,” The 25th International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (IEEE MEMS 2012), Paris, France 29 January – 2 February 2012.
- H. Sato, D. Cohen, and M. M. Maharbiz, “Building Interfaces to Developing Cells and Organisms: From Cyborg Beetles to Synthetic Biology,” in CMOS Biomicrosystems, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011, pp. 325-354.
- H. Sato, M.M. Maharbiz ”Recent Developments in the Remote Radio Control of Insect Flight” Frontiers in Neuroscience, 4:199 (2010). [Invited Review].
- M.M. Maharbiz and H. Sato “Cyborg Beetles: Tiny flying robots that are part machine and part insect may one day save lives in wars and disasters” Scientific American, Vol. 303, Number 6, 94-99 (2010). [December issue]
- Sato H, Berry CW, Peeri Y, Baghoomian E, Casey BE, Lavella G, VandenBrooks JM, Harrison JF and Maharbiz MM, “Remote radio control of insect flight,” Front. Integr. Neurosci. 3:24, 2009. doi:10.3389/neuro.07.024.2009
- H. Sato, Y. Peeri, E. Baghoomian, C.W. Berry, M.M. Maharbiz, “Radio-controlled cyborg beetles: a radio-frequency systems for insect neural flight control,” IEEE Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, (MEMS 2009), January 25-29, 2009, Sorrento, Italy
- H. Sato, C. W. Berry, B. E. Casey, G. Lavella, Y. Yao, J. M. VandenBrooks, M. M. Maharbiz, “A cyborg beetle: insect flight control through an implantable, tetherless microsystem”, 21st IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS 2008), JW Marriott Starr Pass Tucson, Arizona, USA, January 13-17, 2008, pp. 164-167.
We’re begun developing mammalian neural interfaces for Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMI), neuroprosthetics and neuroscience. A seamless, high density, long term clinically-viable interface to the human brain is clearly one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Half a century of scientific and engineering effort has yielded a vast body of neural interface knowledge and a closely related set of tools for stimulating and recording from neurons inside the mammalian brain for clinical applications. Currently, the majority of neural recording is done through the direct electrical measurement, via conducting electrodes, of potential changes near relevant neurons during depolarization events called action potentials. While the specific geometry, size, material and functionality varies across several prominent technologies, all of these interfaces share several characteristics: 1) a physical, electrical connection between the active area inside the brain and electronic circuits near the periphery 2) a practical upper bound on the number of recording sites and 3) the development of a biological response near the electrode —including the accumulation of glia and the deposition of proteins— which degrades recording performance over time. To date, chronic neural implants have proved to be successful in the short range (weeks to months) and for a small number of channels. The ability to record from thousands of sites in a clinically relevant manner with significantly less tissue response would be a game changer. This work grew out of a very fruitful collaboration with Jan Rabaey (EECS), Jose Carmena (EECS, Helen Wills Inst.) and Eddie Chang (UCSF) in the context of the Center for Neural Engineeing and Prostheses (CNEP). Our technology is now in use at a number of labs across the country.
- Bjorninen, T.; Muller, R.; Ledochowitsch, P.; Sydanheimo, L.; Ukkonen, L.; Maharbiz, M. M.; Rabaey, J. M.; , “Design of Wireless Links to Implanted Brain–Machine Interface Microelectronic Systems,” Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters, IEEE , vol.11, no., pp.1663-1666, 2012.doi: 10.1109/LAWP.2013.2239252
- P. Ledochowitsch, E. Olivero, T. Blanche, and M. M. Maharbiz, “A Transparent μECoG Array for Simultaneous Recording and Optogenetic Stimulation”, 33rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC ’11), August 30 – Sept 3, 2011 Boston, USA.
- Ledochowitsch, P.; Félus, R.J.; Gibboni, R.R.; Miyakawa, A.; Bao, S.; Maharbiz, M.M.; , “Fabrication and testing of a large area, high density, parylene MEMS µECoG array,” Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), 2011 IEEE 24th International Conference on , vol., no., pp.1031-1034, 23-27 Jan. 2011.
Interfaces to Multicellularity
In a nascent collaboration between Adam P. Arkin (BioE, LBNL), Murat Arcak (EECS) and Jonathan Bachrach (EECS), we are pursuing a high-risk, high-payoff vision at the intersection of synthetic biology and abiotic/biotic interfaces. This nascent work is designed to tackle three significant technological hurdles: 1) the demonstration of useful synthetic, multi-cellular assemblies, 2) the production of a system which is capable of non-natural sensing and structural synthesis and 3) a testbed to develop predictive CAD tools that deal with biological complexity and multi-cellularity. No such systems exist today.
- Michel M. Maharbiz,”Synthetic multicellularity,” Trends in Cell Biology, online 4 October 2012, doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2012.09.002.
- Daniel C Huang, William J Holtz and Michel M Maharbiz, “A genetic bistable switch utilizing nonlinear protein degradation,” Journal of Biological Engineering (2012) 6:9 doi:10.1186/1754-1611-6-9
- J. Hsia, W. J. Holtz, D. C. Huang, M. Arcak, M. M. Maharbiz, “A Feedback Quenched Oscillator Produces Turing Patterning with One Diffuser,” PLoS Comput Biol 8(1), 2012. e1002331. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002331
- Justin Hsia, William A. Holtz, Daniel C. Huang, Murat Arcak, Michel M. Maharbiz, “A Quenched Oscillator Network for Pattern Formation in Gene Expression,” 2011 American Control Conference — ACC2011, San Francisco, California, USA, June 29 – July 1, 2011.
- Cohen DJ, Morfino RC, Maharbiz MM, “A modified consumer inkjet for spatiotemporal control of gene expression,” PLoS One. 2009 Sep 18;4(9):e7086.
- T. Bansal, J. Lenhart, T. Kim, C. Duan and M. M. Maharbiz, ‘Patterned delivery and expression of gene constructs into developing zebrafish embryos using microfabricated interfaces’, IEEE Biomedical microdevices, 2009 Jan 9. [Epub ahead of print]
- R. F. Ismagilov and M. M. Maharbiz, “Can we build synthetic, multicellular systems by controlling developmental signaling in space and time?” Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, 11 (6), pg. 604-611, 2007.