Research Topic

Towards Freely Moving Animal Experiments: Challenges and Solutions in Materials and Electronics

About this Research Topic

The central and peripheral nervous system operations are based on complex electrical and chemical interactions between neural cells, influenced by sensory inputs from the external world. Under natural circumstances, sensory feedback and motor output are inevitably linked in a perception-action cycle. Therefore, to better understand how CNS operates, monitoring of the bioelectrical signals should be implemented in an experimental configuration that mimics a real context as much as possible in freely moving animal experiments.

Up to the present, despite several improvements have been implemented in neural device technologies and electronics, the majority of in vivo experiments are performed using tethered and battery-powered neural interfaces, that rely on large and bulky systems. These devices can cause irritation and motion artifacts, they can limit natural motions and discourage regular interactions, thus precluding behavioral studies in naturalistic environments.



To provide long-lasting and reliable behavioral experiments in freely moving animals, different technological aspects should be improved, i.e.: the implantable electrode stability, durability, and multimodality; their effective integration with wireless communication to avoid cable connections; the use of remote powering in alternative to wired-in implantable batteries; the reduction in size and weight of the overall system dimensions. These technological issues limit the possibility of biological investigation and the development of more efficient machine-human interfaces.

This research topic focuses on recent advances in neural technologies (interfaces and systems) and experiments aimed to improve and simplify the implementation of implantable systems for freely moving animal experiments. Relevant areas of research include material science, design and packaging of neural probes, electronic and telecommunication systems, energy harvesting, and power supply applied to implantable technologies for electrical, chemical, and optogenetic recording and stimulation of the CNS and PNS. Implementations of new paradigms for real behavioral experiments in virtual environments are also welcomed.



this research topic will accept high-quality articles that contain original research results and review articles, reporting recent innovations in:



• New electrode materials and coatings

• New implantable neural probe design and packaging

• Implantable electronics for electrophysiological recordings and electrochemical sensing

• Implantable electronics for electrical/optogenetic stimulation

• Ultra-low-power electronics for battery-less implants

• Wireless communications not limited to RF

• Wireless power supply not limited to RF

• Data transmission and compression protocols

• Power supplies for neural implants

• Energy harvesting

• Closed-loop systems for neuromodulation

• Neuromodulation systems based on non-electrical devices (e.g. ultrasounds, magnetics, etc.)

• Strategies to reduce glial reaction of implants

• Implementation of new behavioral paradigms


Keywords: Materials for neural electrodes, bio-signal amplifier, implantable medical device, packaging of implantable devices, low-power electronics, energy harvesting, biobatteries, closed-loop systems, wireless communication, data compression.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The central and peripheral nervous system operations are based on complex electrical and chemical interactions between neural cells, influenced by sensory inputs from the external world. Under natural circumstances, sensory feedback and motor output are inevitably linked in a perception-action cycle. Therefore, to better understand how CNS operates, monitoring of the bioelectrical signals should be implemented in an experimental configuration that mimics a real context as much as possible in freely moving animal experiments.

Up to the present, despite several improvements have been implemented in neural device technologies and electronics, the majority of in vivo experiments are performed using tethered and battery-powered neural interfaces, that rely on large and bulky systems. These devices can cause irritation and motion artifacts, they can limit natural motions and discourage regular interactions, thus precluding behavioral studies in naturalistic environments.



To provide long-lasting and reliable behavioral experiments in freely moving animals, different technological aspects should be improved, i.e.: the implantable electrode stability, durability, and multimodality; their effective integration with wireless communication to avoid cable connections; the use of remote powering in alternative to wired-in implantable batteries; the reduction in size and weight of the overall system dimensions. These technological issues limit the possibility of biological investigation and the development of more efficient machine-human interfaces.

This research topic focuses on recent advances in neural technologies (interfaces and systems) and experiments aimed to improve and simplify the implementation of implantable systems for freely moving animal experiments. Relevant areas of research include material science, design and packaging of neural probes, electronic and telecommunication systems, energy harvesting, and power supply applied to implantable technologies for electrical, chemical, and optogenetic recording and stimulation of the CNS and PNS. Implementations of new paradigms for real behavioral experiments in virtual environments are also welcomed.



this research topic will accept high-quality articles that contain original research results and review articles, reporting recent innovations in:



• New electrode materials and coatings

• New implantable neural probe design and packaging

• Implantable electronics for electrophysiological recordings and electrochemical sensing

• Implantable electronics for electrical/optogenetic stimulation

• Ultra-low-power electronics for battery-less implants

• Wireless communications not limited to RF

• Wireless power supply not limited to RF

• Data transmission and compression protocols

• Power supplies for neural implants

• Energy harvesting

• Closed-loop systems for neuromodulation

• Neuromodulation systems based on non-electrical devices (e.g. ultrasounds, magnetics, etc.)

• Strategies to reduce glial reaction of implants

• Implementation of new behavioral paradigms


Keywords: Materials for neural electrodes, bio-signal amplifier, implantable medical device, packaging of implantable devices, low-power electronics, energy harvesting, biobatteries, closed-loop systems, wireless communication, data compression.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2022 Abstract
30 June 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2022 Abstract
30 June 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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