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Special Sessions


CMOS Biosensors for Molecular Diagnostics and Cellular Monitoring (oral presentations)

Session Organizers/Chairs:  Hua Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA and Sam Kavusi, Robert Bosch Research and Technology Center, USA

Abstract: Modern biotechnology has created a tremendous need for novel bio-detection platforms, which can be inherently scalable, robust, reliable, and low-maintenance. The CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) technology offers a powerful platform for bioelectronics and biosensor implementations. Besides being low-cost, highly compact, and mass-producible, CMOS circuits can detect minute electromagnetic signals (sensor), generate precise electromagnetic stimuli (actuator), and provide unparalleled computations (processor). Leveraging the advantages of CMOS process could potentially achieve revolutionary molecular diagnostics and cellular monitoring platforms with massive-parallel screening capabilities. The progress in this field would lead to a paradigm-shift in transformative biological research and eventually facilitate the translation of bench-top technologies to bedside healthcare solutions.

In this proposed special session, we seek to capture a snapshot of the recent wave of innovations in this fast-growing CMOS biosensor field. We plan to invite world-class experts from both academia and industry to contribute invited papers as exemplar work to this special session. The covered applications include detections, diagnostics, monitoring on molecular and cellular levels. We tentatively plan to organize five invited papers in this special session, and currently we have three papers completely confirmed.

We are confident that this special session will bring the state-of-the-art CMOS biosensor technologies to the audience at BioCAS 2014. We believe that the combination of the high-quality technical materials and the high-impact of this fast-growing field will together stimulate considerable interests among the attendees.

Treating Blindness through Visual Neuroprostheses: Circuits and System Architectures Inspired by the Target Biology (oral presentations)

Session Organizer/Chair:  Gregg Suaning, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

ABSTRACT: Traditional influences on circuits and systems design such as power efficiency and high speed processing are eclipsed by other factors when these circuits and systems are designed to interact with and modulate physiological systems. Visual neuroprosthesis is a relatively new field of research that aims to bring about a treatment for blindness through neuromodulation of surviving neurons of the visual pathway. The visual neuroprosthesis field has reached the point at which a handful of prototype and commercial devices have now been implanted into human recipients. Currently researchers are assessing the therapeutic benefits of these devices with the aim of defining the next steps in safely restoring visual sensations to the blind.

In the context of the panel assembled here for the first time in this Special Session, neuroprosthetic intervention occurs at the retina with stimulating electrodes situated at one of three sites: the epiretinal surface where the vitreous humor meets the neural retina; the sub-retinal interface where the neural retina meets the retinal pigment epithelium; or the supra-choroidal space where the choroid meets the sclera. Each member of the panel is faced with common challenges that include designing and implementing neuromodulation circuits and systems that must fit within limited anatomical space, align with current trends in microelectronics fabrication approaches, function reliably in the harsh and corrosive biological environment, and ultimately deliver safe stimulation strategies that elicit meaningful physiological and psychophysical outcomes to patients suffering from visual impairment.

The session will begin with a Special Session Keynote Address from Emeritus Professor Erich Schmid, a theoretical physicist from the University of Tuebingen, Germany. Professor Schmid will describe the stimulation pulse from the perspective of its physical form, behavior and propensity to elicit responses from neurons when it takes on these various forms. Following the address, a panel ofleading researchers from the most active teams in the field of visual neuroprosthesis will discuss the role that biology has played in defining the circuits and systems relating to their research. The panel will finally participate in a moderated discussion with an aim to defining the next steps in addressing these significant challenges.

Remote Powering and Data Communication dedicated to Biomedical Systems (poster presentations)

Session Organizer/Chair:  Catherine Dehollain, EPFL, Switzerland

Abstract:  Biomedical systems are widely used in the daily life for different purposes such as blood pressure monitoring, heart monitoring (Holster system) sleep monitoring, diabetes monitoring, heart stimulation (pacemaker), and medical exams (e.g. MRI, echography, endoscopy). Moreover, the comfort of the patient is increased thanks to the use of portable medical devices and remotely powered sensors. This special session is dedicated to wireless data communication and remote powered techniques dedicated to the biomedical field.

Bio-Inspired Circuits and Architectures for Robotics (poster presentations)

Session Organizers/Chairs:  Danilo Demarchi, Politecnico di Torino & Italian Institute of Technology, Italy and Chiara Bartolozzi, Italian Institute of Technology, Italy

ABSTRACT: Biologically-inspired design is a key concept for implementing new circuits and architectures, capturing on artificial systems the effective solutions applied by nature to the problem of real-world interaction. Starting from the inherent stimulus-driven signal transmission of the human body, the long-term research scenario relies on the use of events (all-digital) for information transmission (wired or wirelessly) and processing, so that to lower signal interconnection wires, complexity and power requirements of future robots. This approach also gives to integrated systems the possibility to be modular, scalable and self-synchronized, resulting in increased robustness and flexibility. In this shape, robotic applications can give a huge contribution to the realization of efficient controls and management, both at circuit and at architectural level. This special session gives a glimpse of the state of the art in circuits, architectures and applications of biologically inspired design in robotics.

Swiss NanoTera Initiative (workshop)

Session Organizer/Chair:  Catherine Dehollain, EPFL, Switzerland

Abstract:  The Swiss NanoTera initiative ( has been launched by the Swiss National Funding office (SNF) in year 2009. It is dedicated to several scientific topics such as the environmental, energy, health and security domains. The Program Leader of NanoTera is Professor Giovanni de Micheli from EPFL. This special session will start by a general presentation of NanoTera by Prof. de Micheli. Then, four NanoTera projects (Ironic, Simos, Ultrasound ToGo, ObeSense,) will be highlighted by the partners of these projects.