The 2,458th Meeting of the Society

May 6, 2022 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Ultraminiature Medical Implants

Bionic retinas, neuromodulators, and physiosensors

John Randall

CEO, Zyvex Labs
Executive Vice President of Teliatry, Inc.; Executive Vice President of Nanoretina
Adjust Professor UT-Dallas

Sponsored by PSW Science Member Joe Schulman

About the Lecture

Active implants like the pacemaker and spinal cord stimulator modulate specific neural activity without the complicated side effects of pharmaceutical agents.  Unfortunately, they are large, expensive and require invasive surgery.  Consequently, although these treatments are efficacious, they are considered therapies of last resort.  Efforts are underway to develop small implantable devices that do not have these disadvantages and will serve many therapeutic applications that are not addressed by the technologies currently in use.

One company, Teliatry, has built some of the smallest and most advanced active implantable devices in the world, about the size of a grain of rice.  In clinical trials,  these devices have been implanted in humans to treat blindness, PTSD, stroke, and spinal cord injury, with positive results.  The company is using manufacturing technologies developed for the integrated circuit industry to fabricate these devices, with great advantages over conventional technologies in cost and reliability, and the ease of mass manufacturing.

The lecture will describe these ultraminiature, minimally invasive and injectable active medical devices, the technology used to fabricate them, their use and outcomes in patients suffering from several different maladies, and the near and longer term prospects for their development and medical impacts.

Selected Reading & Media References

About the Speaker

John Randall is CEO of Zyvex Labs, LLC, Executive Vice President of Teliatry, Executive Vice President of Nano Retina and Adjunct Professor at UT-Dallas.

Previously, John was with Texas Instruments (TI) where he worked on high resolution processing for integrated circuits, MEMS, and quantum effect devices.  While at TI, John and colleagues fabricated the first quantum dot diode, developed the first quantum well bipolar transistor, made the first working room temperature quantum integrated circuit, and created the first lateral resonant tunneling diode   Prior to joining TI, John worked at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory on ion beam and x-ray lithography.

In addition to his science and engineering work, John has been instrumental in developing and spinning out a number of successful nanotechnology companies, including Zyvex Technologies and Zyvex Instruments.

John is an author on many peer reviewed scientific publications and an inventor in numerous issued US Patents.

Among other honors and awards, John was elected a University of Houston Distinguished Engineering Alumnus, serves on the External Engineering Advisory Board of the University and was designated a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Texas Instruments.  He also is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a Fellow of the Society of the AVS.

John earned a BS, MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Houston.

This lecture was originally to be given by Rahul Saint.  Rahul was not able to travel and John kindly stepped in to give the lecture in his stead.  Rahul and John have worked together closely for many years on the technologies discussed in the lecture.