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Patent Awarded for Neurostimulation Electronics

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (A. Kotok)

17 February 2015. A U.S. patent on electronic components for switching and pulse generation in neurostimulation devices was awarded earlier this month. The Patent and Trademark Office awarded patent number 8,948,880 on 3 February to Barry Yomtov, founder and chief technologist of AdvaStim Inc. in Beverly, Massachusetts, and assigned to the company.

AdvaStim develops modular components for neurostimulation devices, like those to stimulate the spinal cord to reduce back pain. According to the company, many of today’s spinal cord neurostimulation devices suffer from failure rates as high of 30 percent, requiring a more reliable platform. In addition, says AdvaStim, its modular architecture make it possible for device manufacturers to develop systems to address multiple disorders with the same basic set of components.

While electronic therapy implants, including neurostimulation devices, have been around for decades, newer devices are becoming more and more sophisticated, with microcontrollers for directing multiple stimulation therapies to multiple locations in the body. Adding more functions to these devices requires increasing miniaturization, which even with advanced semiconductor technology, has limitations in the number and type of circuits in an implanted unit.

The patent covers AdvaStim’s switching and pulse-generation technology designed to support a single electrode array connecting multiple input to multiple output circuits. The technology includes an interface for pulse generators to connect to the electrode array, and respond to signals from a control device for producing the stimulative energy. The electrode array, says the patent, can be configured on a flexible substrate and shaped around a cylinder carrier.

“Integrating the pulse generator circuitry with a dense array of electrodes in a single compact lead can improve power efficiency and potentially improve the reliability of an implantable neurostimulator device,” says Yomtov in a company statement. “This technology can also provide neurostimulation therapy developers with enhanced flexibility to position devices where needed within the body and help further the next generation of therapy options.”

The patent is expected to support AdvaStim’s chip architecture that the company says supports multi-channel switching and electrode programming required for advanced neurostimulation devices. AdvaStim also provides embedded controller software for the implanted components.

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