Rice University engineers have developed the first miniaturized brain stimulator shown to work in a human patient. (Image: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)


Rice University engineers have developed the smallest implantable brain stimulator demonstrated in a human patient.


Thanks to pioneering magnetoelectric power transfer technology, the pea-sized device known as the Digitally programmable Over-brain Therapeutic (DOT), can be powered wirelessly via an external transmitter and used to stimulate the brain through the dura — the protective membrane attached to the bottom of the skull. It has been developed in the Rice lab of Jacob Robinson in collaboration with Motif Neurotech and clinicians Dr. Sameer Sheth and Dr. Sunil Sheth. The technology relies on a material that converts magnetic fields into electrical pulses. This conversion process is very efficient at small scales and has good misalignment tolerance, meaning it does not require complex or minute maneuvering to activate and control. The device has a width of 9 mm and can deliver 14.5 V of stimulation. For some conditions, epilepsy for example, the device may need to be on permanently or most of the time; though for disorders such as depression and OCD, a regimen of just a few minutes of stimulation per day could suffice to bring about the desired changes in the functioning of the targeted neuronal network.


Rice University, Houston, TX


The device could revolutionize treatment for drug-resistant depression and other psychiatric or neurological disorders by providing a therapeutic alternative that offers greater patient autonomy and accessibility than current neurostimulation-based therapies and is less invasive than other brain-computer interfaces.


Motif, a startup formed through the Rice Biotech Launch Pad that is working to bring the device to market.

For more information, contact Silvia Cernea Clark at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 713-348-6728.