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Neuroprosthetics (Neuroprosthetics: electrical stimulation of neurons with a focus on cochlear implants)

Module EI60021

This Module is offered by TUM Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2017

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2018/9SS 2017

Basic Information

EI60021 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This module description is valid from SS 2017 to SS 2020.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
180 h 60 h 6 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


The lecture covers the theoretical foundations of neuroprostheses, which are solved numerically in the practical course. As the underlying principle of all neuroprostheses is the electrical excitation of neurons, we will cover this topic in depth using cochlea implants as an example.

In the practical computer laboratory (2SWS), which complements the lecture (2SWS), we implement a computer model of a cochlea implant and model how it will stimulate the auditory nerve.

- Overview neuroimplants
- numerical solution of linear and nonlinear differential equations
- electrical models of cells and neurons
- derivation and solution of the cable equation for nerve fibers (axons)
- simulation of the electrical excitation of nerve fibers (axons)
- simulation of electrical field spread in the body
- anatomy and function of the hearing organ
- coding of sound in the auditory nerve
- implementation of a coding strategy for a cochlear implant
- electrochemistry of electrodes, biocompatibility and foreign body reactions

Learning Outcome

After this course, the particitants are able / acquired skills with respect to:
- ability to develop models nonlinear systems (neurons) and solve nonlinear differential equations
- knowledge how neuroprostheses work
- understanding of the underlying principles of electrical stimulation of neurons
- ability to model electrically evoked neuronal excitation
- ability to analyze and evaluate contemporary neuroprostheses and novel developments
- ability to develop models of new neuroprostheses and their coding strategies


MatLab or Python basics
Basics in electrical engineering (electrical circuits, cable equation, electrical fields)
Signalprocessing basics (Fourier transformation, digital filters)
Systems Theory basics

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lecture with computer course

Usually students rate the computer course as rather demanding.


- supported by slides (beamer)
- derivations and supplementary information provided on blackboard
Practical course
- individual support during the practical course to solve the problems on the computer
- derivations and supplementary information provided on blackboard


There is a script wich covers the most important topics of the lcture.
Further reading:
- Neuroprosthetics Theory and Practice , Kenneth W. Horch, Gurpreet S. Dhillon (Hsg), World Scientific, 2004
- Medizintechnik mit biokompatiblen Werkstoffen und Verfahren; Erich Wintermantel, Suk-Woo Ha (with limitations, this book covers issues of biocompatibility, aspekte of electrical implants are covered only partially)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

The written exam (60 Min) will test the analysis of the basic function of neurons, the hearing system and of cochlear implants. In addition, the ability to evaluate the electrical excitation of neurons by neuropostheses will be tested.

In the practical course the skill to develop computer models of neurons and neuroprostheses will be tested. (Motto: I have fully understood only what I can build.)
This will be done by evaluating of the solutions of the exercises as laboratory grade.

- 100% exam

The submitted solution of problems from the exercise are evaluated (mid-term exam), if passed it improves the final grade by 0.3

Exam Repetition

There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

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