The Achilles heel of all bionic devices is the electrode-cellular/tissue interface. Bioelectronic communication between the implanted electrode and the neural targets is compromised over extended periods, primarily due to encapsulation of the electrode with connective tissue.
For example, the host responses to the cochlear implant are characterised by fibrosis and new bone formation, which increases electrical impedance and power consumption, limiting the efficacy of safe stimulation at the auditory nerve.
For brain implants, such as intracortical probes, the host body response takes the form of reactive gliosis, involving with the formation of an astroglial scar that electronically insulates the electrode from nearby neurons.
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