Brain phantom for epilepsy treatment

Dec 07, 2022. Funding approval from the Invest BW programme for miniaturised intelligent neuro stimulation system

The Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) and Precisis have received funding from the Invest BW programme for the development of a miniaturised intelligent neuro stimulation system. The funding underlines the innovative strength of the planned project which can subsequently improve the quality of life of many patients with epilepsy.

The Brain-MEP project was recognised by Invest BW as especially innovative. Brain-MEP stands for "Miniaturised Electrical Pulse Generator for the Brain" and aims to develop prototypes for a miniaturised intelligent system, as part of an implant for the therapy of epilepsy. In practice, such systems can be used to independently recognise upcoming epileptic seizures and treat with counteracting stimulation. The stimulation is automatically adapted to the individual seizure event without the patients even noticing. 

"In the current project, we are further developing the previous algorithms for seizure detection from neurosignals and additionally building a "brain phantom", i.e. a replica of the brain that is as realistic as possible for the application. We want to use it to determine how electrical fields develop inside the brain when we selectively stimulate "from the outside", i.e. through the skullcap," says Prof. Woias, Holder of the professorship of the Design of Microsystems at IMTEK.

“The product resulting from this project represents an enormous step forward in the field. Intelligent patient individualized algorithms, optimized for low energy applications have a great potential for neuroimplants. In this project we will aim to make them technically mature for the market” says Dr. Ing. Laura Maria Comella, group leader at the Chair for Design of Microsystems at IMTEK, and project leader for the Project BrainMEP and previously for the project PIMIDES.

Initial research on algorithms for seizure detection was carried out at the Chair for the Design of Microsystems in the cluster of excellence "BrainLinks-BrainTools", in cooperation with the epilepsy centre at Uniklinik Freiburg (medical centre University of Freiburg). Building on this, both research partners soon established a successful collaboration with the company Precisis, which continues to this day. Within the framework of the BMBF-funded PIMIDES research project, activities were expanded in the direction of implant development, together with a further development of the EASEE® stimulation system from Precisis, which was successfully used in clinical studies during the project. These studies showed that the therapy was very effective: 53% of the study participants were able to more than halve their seizure frequency. Based on these data, the EASEE®-system received the CE mark for the treatment of focal epilepsy in adulthood in September 2022.

About IMTEK:
The Department of Microsystems Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Freiburg is a renowned research institution in the field of micro- and nanotechnology. With 24 professorships and more than 370 scientific and technical employees, it covers fields ranging from microelectronics to microsystems engineering and nanotechnology to micromedicine.

About Precisis:
Precisis is a medical technology company that develops minimally invasive brain stimulation methods to relieve epilepsy patients of their symptoms. Since 2015, the company has focused entirely on the development of the minimally invasive brain pacemaker - EASEE®. The electrodes deliver a calming impulse to the affected area of the brain in a targeted and individually adapted manner. EASEE® relies on anatomical precision and takes into account the specific history of the disease.

About Invest BW
Invest BW is a funding programme of the Ministry of Economics, Labour and Tourism and is intended to support companies and research associations in Baden-Württemberg in maintaining their innovative strength by initiating new research and development projects.

EASEE® is an acronym for "Epicranial Application of Stimulation Electrodes for Epilepsy". It is a system for individualised brain stimulation which is anatomically placed exactly over the epileptic origin in the brain, but is surgically inserted only under the scalp. This means that the skull bone is not opened and the brain itself remains untouched.

The thin platelet electrodes are not visible from the outside and ensure unrestricted freedom of movement for the patients. The therapeutic impulses can be individually adjusted for each patient, and optimizations can be made regularly over the course of the treatment.

Two clinical studies conducted in various European epilepsy centres under the leadership of Professor Schulze-Bonhage, Freiburg, showed the good efficacy of EASEE®. The market launch in the EU has already taken place in 2022.

Globally, epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological diseases and has a huge impact on the lives of those affected. Every third patient is also considered medication-refractory, i.e. medicines that are regularly used for therapy are no longer effective. Therefore, additional technical or surgical therapies are required. For these patients, EASEE® holds the potential for a more effective minimally invasive epilepsy therapy and can mean an increase in their quality of life.


Prof. Dr. Peter Woias
University of Freiburg
Department of Microsystems Engineering – IMTEK
Laboratory for the Design of Microsystems
E-Mail: woias(a)

Kerstin Steiger-Merx
Representative PR/Marketing
Faculty of Engineering
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-8056