Bio-Inspired Technologies: Prof. Christofer Toumazou

This article in Ingenia, December 2008, (37), 20-26, discusses the work of Professor Christofer Toumazou, founder of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London.  The Institute has brought together scientists, medical researchers, clinicians and engineers to drive major advances in key areas of medical diagnosis and treatment, including personalised healthcare, regenerative medicine and biomedical imaging."

The article explores miniaturized, wearable or implantable electronic devices for medical diagnosis.  Toumazou's innovations to solve the challenges inherent in these devices often looks to nature for inspiration, such as:

  • silicon analogs of neuro-biological architectures, including the nervous system and retina
  • sensors that detect chemicals and analyze the results based on biological sensor systems

An example is the Sensium digital plaster, a wearable device that monitors and processes multiple vital signs, then transmits the results wirelessly to a base station.  Other devices including an artificial pancreas based on a model of how the pancreas works, a retinal prosthesis incorporating the signal process performed by retinal neurons, and a cochlear prosthesis using hybrid analog/digital circuitry based on models of the basilar member and hair cells. 

Thanks to John Summerscales and the Biomimetics Listserver for the pointer!

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