Purdue University Graduate School
Jui-Wei_Tsai-FinalExam-Thesis_v2_20200924_upload.pdf (4.23 MB)

Digital Signal Processing Architecture Design for Closed-Loop Electrical Nerve Stimulation Systems

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posted on 2020-09-14, 13:00 authored by Jui-wei TsaiJui-wei Tsai
Electrical nerve stimulation (ENS) is an emerging therapy for many neurological disorders. Compared with conventional one-way stimulations, closed-loop ENS approaches increase the stimulation efficacy and minimize patient's discomfort by constantly adjusting the stimulation parameters according to the feedback biomarkers from patients. Wireless neurostimulation devices capable of both stimulation and telemetry of recorded physiological signals are welcome for closed-loop ENS systems to improve the quality and reduce the costs of treatments, and real-time digital signal processing (DSP) engines processing and extracting features from recorded signals can reduce the data transmission rate and the resulting power consumption of wireless devices. Electrically-evoked compound action potential (ECAP) is an objective measure of nerve activity and has been used as the feedback biomarker in closed-loop ENS systems including neural response telemetry (NRT) systems and a newly proposed autonomous nerve control (ANC) platform. It's desirable to design a DSP engine for real-time processing of ECAP in closed-loop ENS systems.

This thesis focuses on developing the DSP architecture for real-time processing of ECAP, including stimulus artifact rejection (SAR), denoising, and extraction of nerve fiber responses as biomedical features, and its VLSI implementation for optimal hardware costs. The first part presents the DSP architecture for real-time SAR and denoising of ECAP in NRT systems. A bidirectional-filtered coherent averaging (BFCA) method is proposed, which enables the configurable linear-phase filter to be realized hardware efficiently for distortion-free filtering of ECAPs and can be easily combined with the alternating-polarity (AP) stimulation method for SAR. Design techniques including folded-IIR filter and division-free averaging are incorporated to reduce the computation cost. The second part presents the fiber-response extraction engine (FREE), a dedicated DSP engine for nerve activation control in the ANC platform. FREE employs the DSP architecture of the BFCA method combined with the AP stimulation, and the architecture of computationally efficient peak detection and classification algorithms for fiber response extraction from ECAP. FREE is mapped onto a custom-made and battery-powered wearable wireless device incorporating a low-power FPGA, a Bluetooth transceiver, a stimulation and recording analog front-end and a power-management unit. In comparison with previous software-based signal processing, FREE not only reduces the data rate of wireless devices but also improves the precision of fiber response classification in noisy environments, which contributes to the construction of high-accuracy nerve activation profile in the ANC platform. An application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) version of FREE is implemented in 180-nm CMOS technology, with total chip area and core power consumption of 19.98 mm2 and 1.95 mW, respectively.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Pedro P. Irazoqui

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Kaushik Roy

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Anand Raghunathan

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Vijay Raghunathan

Additional Committee Member 5

Dr. Matthew P. Ward