Battery-free neuromodulator for peripheral nerve direct stimulation

Sanghoon Lee, Hao Wang, Jiahui Wang, Qiongfeng Shi, Shih Cheng Yen, Nitish V. Thakor, Chengkuo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Modulation of peripheral nerves is an emerging field for neuroprosthesis and bioelectronic medicine. With developing neural interfacing technology (NIT) that directly communicates with peripheral nerves, several powering schemes have been investigated for long-term use of implantable devices such as wireless and conversion of human body energy. Recently, a variety of promising energy harvesters have been demonstrated as alternatives to solve the power supply issue. Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) show promising performance as a power source of a neuro-stimulator since the output of TENGs provides direction stimulation of a nerve. However, there is a lack of research on TENGs for peripheral nerve stimulation. This work introduces a novel water/air-hybrid triboelectric nanogenerator (WATENG) to overcome current drawbacks of liquid based TENGs as well as to achieve efficient nerve stimulation. Furthermore, this study involves comparative demonstration of the efficiency of nerve stimulation induced by exponential and square pulsed waveforms, to verify that TENGs can effectively stimulate nerves and are good candidates for neurostimulators. By combining this device with neural interfaces, selective and force-controlled modulation of leg muscles in rats can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-158
Number of pages11
JournalNano Energy
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Batter-free
  • Direct stimulation
  • Neural interface
  • Neuromodulator
  • Neuroprosthesis
  • Peripheral nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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