A micromachined silicon substrate sieve electrode was implanted within transected toadfish (Opsanus tau) otolith nerves. High fidelity, single unit neural activity was recorded from seven alert and unrestrained fish 30 to 60 days after implantation. Fibrous coatings of genetically engineered bioactive protein polymers and nerve guide tubes increased the number of axons regenerating through the electrode pores when compared with controls. Sieve electrodes have potential as permanent interfaces to the nervous system and to bridge missing connections between severed or damaged nerves and muscles. Recorded impulses might also be amplified and used to control prosthetic devices.
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