INTAKT – High-tech Research Project for Interactive Micro Implants starts


Surpress a tinnitus, restore the grab functions of a hand or treat malfunctions of the digestive tract – Millions of people are seriously impaired after an accident or an illness. Tinnitus alone affects approximately ten million federal citizen.

To help those humans with interactive micro implants turned into a new research project: Under the name INTAKT, 18 companies of economy, science and medical expertise got together – and WILDDESIGN is on board too.

Goal of the innovative cluster INTAKT is the development, manufacturing, characterisation and pre-hospital evaluation of a new generation of active, interlaced implants. In order to promote this technology, the research project is under the management of the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Technology IMBT for 5 years. A completely new form of human-technology-interaction is supposed to give doctors safe access to information and important data as soon as possible in order to assure continous optimal treatment for the patient, since the parameters and stimulation modes can be determined from the outside.

Good news for all the persons concerned, because the searching enterprises are certain that they can treat and even heal several illnesses with interactive micro implants in the future.


18 Enterprises with one Goal: Creating  benefits for Humans

WILDDESIGN as one of the members in the research cluster is among other things responsible for the organization of the portable central control unit, with which the individual active implants communicate with one another by radio. The control unit becomes dependent on one of the three operational areas – tinnitus, gastrointestinal and grab function of the body of the patient. An energy seal supplies the implants inductively with energy. Particularly within the tinnitus range, the inductive source of energy is adjusted to the ergonomics of the head. An Eye-Tracking-System is supposed to support the grab function and correspond with the functional and intuitive user interface – to design this is also one of the central tasks of WILDDESIGN. The GUI must be controllable on different devices individually for each user, which is also implemented by WILDDESIGN. Since the implants are wirelessly supplied with induction of energy, the necessary energy carrier is likewise codeveloped by our designers.
INTAKT Interaktive Mikroimplantate

Remarkable: Interlaced Implants communicate with one another

The approach of the INTAKT project to develop a communicative network out of up to twelve micro implants within the coming years is unique.  The advantage: Therewith it is possible to not only be active on individual parts, but the functionality of larger connected fabric sections and organs in their entirety. The interlacted implants communicate if necessary over outside interfaces with the patient or doctor. Hence the implant network can be alligned at any time to the current needs of the patient


Usability of the Implants is important for Success

That the micro implants can be used in an operation as problem-free as possible, is a further task, which the WILDDESIGN team in the research project takes care of. Here it is valid to consider different aspects – from the organization of the implant up to the tool, with whose assistance this implant can be used. For example the implant should be arranged in such a way that it can be easily picked up with tweezers and inserted into its final position. In order to prevent that it falls down, it is possibly necessary to develop a container which protects the sensitive implants on the one hand and easily removes them if they have to be operationally used on a patient on the other hand. The usability of this technology plays an important role in the context of the design development process.


Moderate the Consequences of an Apoplexy, Brain Tumor Paralysis

The flexible handling of the interactive micro implants makes a variety of therapy employments possible: An apoplexy, a brain tumor or a cross section paralysis can lead for example to a motoric restriction.  By a functional electrical stimulation of still intact, but not from the patient controllable nerves or muscles can generate arm and hand movements and thus partly compensate movement disorders. The intelligently interlaced micro implants stimulate the area concerned and thereby allow the paralyzed arm or hand to move again.

Also in the pain therapy the research team is expecting success because of the use of micro implants. No matter if back pains, headaches, migraine or phantom pain – the operational area has almost no restrictions. Several electrical stimulators  can be coordinated as neuro modulation at different stimulation places. Communication between the micro implants secures the synchronisation and with it an optimal management for the suppression of different chronic pain.


Left: Stimulation electrode for Intraoperative Neuromonitoring (Inomed GmbH)
Right: Implant for Myoelectric Hand Prosthesis Control (Fraunhofer IBMT, IIS)


Polling Institute Forsa sees large Approval for Digital Implants

The possibilities, which can be achieved with this future kind of therapy, are unquestionably immense.  Likewise immense are the requirements which the interactive micro implants must fulfill.  Since the implants are supposed to remain lifelong in the body, optimal biocompatibility, a high working reliability and  stable power supply are an absolute must.  These and many other technical challenges are the focus of our research project, the general population shall know: According to a current survey by the Polling Institute forsa on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), it has been confirmed that 84 percent of Federal citizens think the research of digital medical products is important if not of utter importance. 90 percent can even imagine to receive a digital implant in case they would suffer from a serious illness.

Within the next 5 years, we will report regularly about the INTAKT project. Be excited about the results.

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Markus writes about design- and innovation management, creativity methods, medical design and intercultural branding. More about...

Originally written by Markus Wild, 06. April 2017. Last updated 06. April 2017


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