Development of a Minimally Invasive Chronic Neural Interface

  • Group Leaders
    A/Prof Nicholas Opie and A/Prof Thomas Oxley

Project Details

Brain computer interfacing is a rapidly expanding field of research. The technology allows communication between the external environment and the complex biological signaling of the brain. Significant advances have been accomplished to date with groups demonstrating willful thought control over a number of prosthetic devices. Despite these achievements, many interface systems fall prey to the body’s foreign body responses which render the device inoperable after a number of years.

Our team has designed and tested a novel interface prototype which can be implanted into a cerebral blood vessel without the need to perform a craniotomy. Our technology and delivery methodology mitigates the severe risks associated with craniotomy, circumnavigates chronic inflammatory responses, and dramatically reduces the long-term possibility of infection.

The Vascular Bionics Lab are currently progressing towards a first-in-human trial. We are conducting pre-clinical studies directed towards patient safety, chronic biocompatibility and device efficacy.  It is our hope to improve the risk to benefit ratio of a neural interfaces and makeit a worthwhile option to those suffering paralysis.



University of Melbourne:

  • NeuroEngineering Laboratory, Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Dept. of Anatomy and Neuroscience
  • Dept. of Chemical Engineering
  • Centre for Neural Engineering

Royal Melbourne Hospital:

  • Dept. of Neurology
  • Dept. of Neurosurgery
  • Dept. of Radiology

Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health

Melbourne Materials Institute

Defence Science Institute



Current Funding

  • NHMRC Project Grant : 'Proof of Concept for a Minimally Invasive Endovascular Brain-Machine Interface for Robotic Limb Control'
  • NHMRC Development Grant: 'Next Generation Brain Machine Interface'
  • ARC Linkage Project Grant : 'Connecting Man to Machine: Wireless Brain Machine Interface'

Previous Funding

  • US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): 'Intravascular Neural Interface Design'
  • Defence Health Foundation: 'Signal Processing for Novel Brain-Machine Interface for Robotic Limb Control'
  • Victorian Government, Researchers in Business Scheme: 'Connector Block for a Brain Machine Interface'
  • Victorian Government, Dept of State Development, Business and Innovation: 'Development of a Bionic Spine'
  • Australian Synchotron, Medical Imaging Beamline: 'Synchotron Imaging for a Brain Machine Interface'
  • Brain Foundation: 'Proof of Concept for Minimally Invasive Deep Brain Stimulation'

Research Outcomes

  • Oxley TJ, Opie NL, John SE, et al. Minimally invasive endovascular stent-electrode array for high-fidelity, chronic recordings of cortical neural activity. Nat Biotechnol;34:320–7.

Research Publications

  • Oxley TJ, Opie NL, John SE, et al. Minimally invasive endovascular stent-electrode array for high-fidelity, chronic recordings of cortical neural activity. Nat Biotechnol;34:320–7.
  • Opie NL, John SE, Rind GS, et al. Chronic impedance spectroscopy of an endovascular stent-electrode array. J Neural Eng 2016;13:046020.
  • Opie NL, van der Nagel NR, John SE, et al. Micro-CT and Histological Evaluation of a Neural Interface Implanted within a Blood Vessel. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 2016;9294:1–1.
  • Liyanage KA, Steward C, Moffat BA, et al. Development and Implementation of a Corriedale Ovine Brain Atlas for Use in Atlas-Based Segmentation. PLoS One 2016;11:e0155974.
  • Sefcik RK, Opie NL, John SE, et al. The evolution of endovascular electroencephalography: historical perspective and future applications. Neurosurg Focus 2016;40:E7.

Research Group

The Vascular Bionics Laboratory

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry, Musculoskeletal

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre


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