|The Future of Medicine Through Bioengineering - Ayden Jacob
The team at the University of Illinois built what are essentially microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) out of a membrane of polylactic-co-glycolic acid, a biodegradable polymer common in medical applications such as dissolvable stitches. This membrane sits on a substrate of nanoporous silicon or a metal foil. The foil is etched with trenches that create an air cavity, allowing the membrane to deflect in response to pressure changes in the surrounding fluid. A piezoresistive element constructed from Rogers’ classic stretchable serpentine coils detects the changes. The structure is stable for at least five days, but completely dissolves after three weeks in the body. Rogers expects the neurosurgeons at Washington University in St. Louis who are testing the device in rats to move into more extensive studies with larger animals; human trials could begin in perhaps five years.