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Published July 2020 | public
Book Section - Chapter

Thermal Analysis of a Skull Implant in Brain-Computer Interfaces


The goal of this study is to estimate the thermal impact of a titanium skull unit (SU) implanted on the exterior aspect of the human skull. We envision this unit to house the front-end of a fully implantable electrocorticogram (ECoG)-based bi-directional (BD) brain-computer interface (BCI). Starting from the bio-heat transfer equation with physiologically and anatomically constrained tissue parameters, we used the finite element method (FEM) implemented in COMSOL to build a computational model of the SU's thermal impact. Based on our simulations, we predicted that the SU could consume up to 75 mW of power without raising the temperature of surrounding tissues above the safe limits (increase in temperature of 1°C). This power budget by far exceeds the power consumption of our front-end prototypes, suggesting that this design can sustain the SU's ability to record ECoG signals and deliver cortical stimulation. These predictions will be used to further refine the existing SU design and inform the design of future SU prototypes.

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© 2020 IEEE. Work supported by the National Science Foundation (Award #1646275).

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December 22, 2023