|AVS 55th International Symposium & Exhibition|
|BioMEMS Topical Conference||Tuesday Sessions|
|Session:||MEMS/NEMS for Biology and Medicine|
|Presenter:||S. Barker, System Planning Corporation|
|Authors:||D. Polla, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
S. Barker, System Planning Corporation
|Correspondent:||Click to Email|
Considerable progress has been made over the last 15 years in realizing a great variety of BioMEMS devices and systems. The field of BioMEMS can be approximately subdivided into three categories: (1) bioanalytical systems, (2), surgical systems, and (3) therapeutic systems. All three areas have numerous commercial and defense applications, but in many cases progress is inhibited by fundamental scientific and technological challenges. This paper presents the authors’ perspective on the top 10 challenges facing BioMEMS today. Bioanalytical systems, which are also commonly referred to as “lab-on-a chip,” have not realized their full potential for numerous reasons: (1) Autonomous sample processing with minimal human intervention has yet to be achieved. (2) Sample clean-up and pre-processing pose significant challenges that often limit the performance of a bioassay. (3) The ability to take a biological sample and obtain a result or set of results is still a long process, often taking several hours; obtaining a microfluidics-based PCR bioassay result in less than one minute persists as a grand challenge for the BioMEMS community. (4) The development of size-scaled microinstruments for bioanalysis presents an enormous opportunity toward the realization of remote site-derived information that can be conveniently communicated to a physician’s office and correlated with a patient’s stored medical record. The potential of surgical MEMS has often meant “micro-invasive” surgery that provides significant benefit to the patient. (5) But non-invasive surgery enabled by MEMS has the potential for providing even better patient outcomes. (6) Both sensors and actuators with the capability for more accurately and more reliably reproducing the skill of a surgeon’s hands still need to be realized. (7) Developments that enable in vivo imaging of cells and organs using MEMS devices may also play an important role in enabling more effective precision surgeries. Therapeutic systems based on MEMS technology have yet to be made smart. (8) This means effectively integrating sensors, electronics, and actuators in a controlled feedback system designed to provide therapy only when the body needs it. These systems are often implantable and are limited by (9) battery size and lifetime. And finally, (10) neural prosthesis represents an exciting new domain where MEMS may provide an effective interface between nerves and electronics.