In fact, the group has recently authored a review in the journal Advanced Materials, which covers current developments in neuroimplantable devices. The review deals with barriers to the commercialization and clinical use of such devices, and proposes strategies to help streamline this process.
Medgadget caught up with Professor Canan Dagdeviren, Director of the Conformable Decoders group, to discuss her team’s ongoing work.
Conn Hastings, Medgadget: How did you get interested and involved in this area?
Canan Dagdeviren: I have been always interested in science. When I was a little kid, I wanted to see atoms. To do so, I was smashing stones in my hometown in Turkey. My father explained to me that we couldn’t see atoms with our naked eyes, but needed an electron microscope to do so. A few years later, my dad handed me a book about Marie and Pierre Curie, and that book changed my life profoundly. In the book, Pierre Curie demonstrated that an electric potential was generated when crystals were compressed, and later that the reverse was true, that crystals could change form when an electric field was applied to them. Pierre Curie had discovered piezoelectricity (electricity resulting from compression or pressure) in 1880, and I, reading about piezoelectricity, had discovered my life’s passion. In my research group, we develop piezoelectric-based biomedical devices to decode the magic of the human body’s physical patterns.
Medgadget: Please give us an overview of the ethos of the Conformable Decoders group.
Canan Dagdeviren: Our is vision is to convert the patterns of nature and the human body into beneficial signals and energy. We believe that we live in an ocean of physical patterns: heartbeats, respiration, muscle movements, neural activity, tidal waves, airflow, ambient humidity, temperature change. These patterns contain information–coded messages–that need to be excavated, refined, and defined; to do so, we need sophisticated interfaces to effectively access and evaluate such information. The Conformable Decoders group explores novel materials, device designs, and fabrication strategies to create micro- and nanoscale electromechanical systems with mechanically adaptive features, which allow intimate integration with the objects of interest. These systems enable us to collect and convert essential patterns into beneficial forms in order to gain insights into our world, and enhance interactions with nature and each other. Our long-term mission is to shape the minds of young people who will drive the future. They must be logically brave and firmly fair; they must speak kindly, think deeply, live simply, and generously love their science; and they should seek to design economically feasible and socially desirable futures for all. Our short-term mission is to have a vigorously beating heart to pursue our dream projects every single day.