The BMBF INTAKT (interactive microimplants) innovation cluster, beat out around 1,000 other entries to be crowned one of the 100 innovative prize winners by a high calibre panel of judges at the “Extraordinary places in the Land of Ideas 2017” competition.

The goal of INTAKT, which is coordinated by the Fraunhof Institute for Biomedical Technology (IBMT), is to develop the next generation of active integrated implants. On the basis of medical data that is collected in real time in combination with the patient’s management, the nerves and muscle structures should be stimulated. The developmental focus of these innovative adaptive systems lies in a completely redesigned interaction between humans and technology; specifically between the patients and their implants as well as the attending physician.

Würth Elektronik is one of the leading circuit board manufacturers in Europe and as a member of the cluster they have taken on responsibility for the development of the electronics for the implant. As part of their responsibilities, they were able to come up with a thin and mouldable circuit carrier. The goal was to push the limits of miniaturisation while also increasing the device’s functionality. They achieved this by integrating sensors, ASICs and energy components into the PCB. They used proven integration technologies in order to move as many components as possible to the inner layers of the circuit board. For one, this allowed for space to be saved, but moreover, it allowed the implants to be discreetly placed in the body while also retaining reliable effectiveness.

Würth Elektronik is researching new biocompatible materials, the properties that make such materials biocompatible, as well how to process the materials for circuit board production. Moreover, we tested new approaches in order to successfully transfer energy using etched planar coils or embedded inductivity.