Electronic Device for Communication with Living Cells

Spira Micha E, HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Alexander Silberman Institute for Life Sciences

Electrical and chemical coupling between living cells and an electronic device 


Bio-molecular electronics

Development Stage

Ongoing research

Patent Status

Patents granted in US, Europe,  and Japan 



  • Electrical and chemical communication (functional linking) between cells such as neurons and the surfaces of substrates that are part of electronic devices
  • Generic technology can serve as the basis for the construction of biomedical devices that can, for example, be used to link nerves to a robotic prosthesis, allowing prosthesis to be controlled by the brain

Our Innovation

Tight physical linkages are formed between cells and surface substrates by taking advantage of the cell’s natural propensity to engulf elements outside themselves by phagocytosis/pinocytosis or endocytosis. The cells engulf nano- to micro-scale protrusions called “micronails,” which have been constructed on the surface of the substrate.


Key Features

  • Reliable and durable bi-directional electrical and chemical communication between cells and electronic devices
  • The head of the micronail may be inserted into the cytoplasm, enabling the nail be used for intracellular recording and stimulation of electrical signals or as an intracellular chemical detector. The inserted micronail can be also used as a micro syringe to deliver materials into the cytoplasm or suck cytoplasm out of the cells.
  • The system can be used to screen drugs or for the development of ex-vivo neuroelectronic computer hybrids.

The Opportunity

  • Can be used to link damaged neuronal networks; to restore vision after retinal or optic nerve damage; to stimulate a secretor, etc.
  • Can be used to detect  chemical and biological contaminations
  • Can also be used to screen drugs or for the development of ex-vivo hybrids between electronic devices, cells and molecules

Patent Status

Granted US 7,795,039

Contact for more information:

Ariela Markel
VP, Business Development, Healthcare
Contact ME:
All projects by:Spira Micha E (2)