Field of application
The present invention refers to an artificial or bionic
neural structure formed by modular electronic elements for generating and/or re-establishing
correct communication between components of a biological structure, in particular
a nervous system.
More specifically, the invention refers to a structure
of the aforementioned type and comprising a central section responsible for the
generation of electrical signals, as well as a first and a second end section connected
to the central section and to respective input and output terminals located on opposite
sides with respect to a point of interruption of the communication.
In particular, but not exclusively, the invention concerns
a system for producing electrical signals to be used in the field of bionics in
human and animal nervous systems that have suffered damage to the mechanisms for
transmitting information after illness and/or traumatic events; the following description
is made with reference to this field of application with the sole purpose of simplifying
As is well known, the transmission of stimuli inside the
human or animal nervous system is carried out by neurotransmitters that are molecules
capable of transmitting information signals at the cellular synapses according to
an electro-chemical mechanism.
In particular, it has already been demonstrated that the
operation of the animal nervous system is based upon the well known Na-K physiologic
pump that works with energy values swinging between opposite equilibrium values.
Such an Na-K physiologic pump can be emulated electronically
through a model schematically illustrated in figure 1 and wholly indicated with
Such a model 1, which we shall define as physiologic, essentially
comprises three modelling branches formed from series (or parallel) RC (or RLC)
circuits, connected together in parallel between a first T1 and a second terminal
T2, respectively corresponding to the surface of a cytoplasm and to an extracellular
More specifically, these serial (or parallel) RC (or RLC)
circuits, R1-C1, R2-C2 and R3-C3 are used to model the equilibriums of the elements
Cl, K and Na, respectively.
The voltage originating from the direct current (DC) generators
C1, C2 and C3 is fixed at -69mV, -75mV and +55mV, respectively.
In the physiologic model 1 a common capacitor C is also
foreseen, connected in parallel to the RC (or RLC) circuits between the terminals
T1 and T2.
Starting from such a physiologic simulation model of the
Na-K pump it is possible, introducing suitable modifications, to simulate three-dimensional
coupling branches of various artificial circuits, so as to obtain, in the bionic
field of application, artificial "tissues" for "apparatuses" or "systems" potentially
for replacing analogous biological apparatuses and systems.
A corresponding simplified model of the Na-K pump, which
we shall define as bionic, is illustrated as an example in figure 3 and wholly indicated
Such a bionic model 2 comprises, in an analogous way to
the physiologic model 1, a first T1 and a second terminal T2, respectively corresponding
to the surface of a cytoplasm and to the extracellular surface between which a first
3, a second 4 and a third modelling branch 5 are connected.
The first modelling branch 3 comprises, in series between
the terminals T1 and T2 respectively, a DC generator, a first resistor, an inverter
switch and a second resistor, an intermediate point of the inverter switch being
connected to the second terminal T2 through a further capacitor.
Moreover the second branch 4 comprises, in series between
the terminals T1 and T2 respectively, a DC generator, a first switch, a first RL
circuit, a second switch and a second RL circuit.
Finally, the third branch 5 comprises, again in series
between the terminals T1 and T2 respectively, a DC generator, a first switch, a
first RLC circuit, a second switch and a second RLC circuit.
The results that can be obtained with such a bionic model
2 can of course be applied, although with all of the necessary modifications and
implementations, to more complex circuits or more generally to the same circuit
that "works" with the addition in parallel of successive meshes or networks, suitably
modified, to obtain, indeed, the desired couplings.
Such modellings have been studied for years to seek the
way to re-establish the interruption in communication inside the nervous system,
for example due to a traumatic event.
Studies carried out in many laboratories have been able
to show that, within the nervous system, each group of cells responsible for a precise
task communicates on a determined series of frequencies in order to ensure a transmission
of data relative to a specific piece of information.
A possible interruption in this communication, be it partial
or total, may also be due to structural defects of a given cell or of a group of
cells and can produce a lack of communication of the information in question. The
group of cells involved by such a lack or interruption in communication does not
therefore accomplish its natural task.
Many studies have been made to try to re-establish specific
neural communications in the case of defective operation of the cells responsible
for such communications, or in the case of traumatic events, without however achieving
a device capable of re-establishing such a communication, i.e. operating as a real
bionic neural device.
The technical problem forming the basis of the present
invention is that of devising a device or a modular electronic element having structural
and functional characteristics such as to allow an artificial neural structure to
be made that is capable of simulating a group of natural neurones in situ.
Summary of the invention
The solution idea forming the basis of the present invention
is that of making an artificial neural structure through a plurality of swinging
circuits grouped in meshes. In particular, the invention proposes collecting together
and processing analogue and digital signals produced inside such meshes so as to
provide compressed information bands.
Based upon such a solution idea the technical problem is
solved by an artificial neural structure of the type indicated previously and defined
by the characterising part of claim 1.
The characteristics and advantages of the artificial neural
structure according to the invention shall become clear from the description, made
hereafter, of an example embodiment thereof, given for indicating and not limiting
purposes, with reference to the attached drawings.
Brief description of the drawings
In such drawings:
- Figures 1 and 2 schematically show a modelling of an Na-K physiologic pump according
to the prior art;
- Figure 3 schematically shows a modelling of an Na-K bionic pump that represents
the theoretical basis of the present invention;
- Figure 4 schematically shows a variant of a detail of the model of figure 3;
- Figures 5 and 6 schematically show a bionic neural structure according to the
invention in different way of operating;
- Figure 7 schematically shows a modular electronic device capable, according
to the invention, of simulating an analogue bionic module;
- Figure 8 compares two different configurations of the bionic module of figure
- Figure 9 shows a bionic module made according to the invention in greater detail;
- Figure 10 schematically shows possible configurations of the bionic module made
according to the invention;
- Figures 11 and 12 schematically show organisations of modules for making a neural
bionic structure according to the invention.
With reference to such figures, and in particular to the
example of figure 3, a bionic model of an Na-K pump that forms the theoretical basis
of the present invention is wholly and schematically indicated with 10.
Hereafter we shall talk about a bionic model (or structure)
with this term intending to refer to objects made in analogy with the biological
behaviour of the human or animal nervous system.
According to such a bionic model 10 the neurotransmitters
move along predetermined directions and at a constant frequency or isofrequency.
In particular, the bionic model 10 comprises, in accordance
with the well known physiologic model 1 illustrated previously, a first terminal
T1 and a second terminal T2, respectively corresponding to the surface of a cytoplasm
and to the extracellular surface between which a first 11, a second 12 and a third
modelling branch 13 are connected.
In particular, the first modelling branch 11 comprises,
in series between the terminals T1 and T2 respectively, a DC generator, a first
resistor, an inverter switch and a second resistor, an intermediate point of the
inverter switch being connected to the second terminal T2 also through a capacitor.
Advantageously, according to the invention, the first modelling
branch 11 also comprises, connected between the second resistor and the second terminal
T2, a capacitor circuit 14 with a complex structure and comprising a variable number
of elementary capacitor structures.
Moreover, the second branch 12 comprises, in series between
the terminals T1 and T2 respectively, a DC generator, a switch and an RL circuit.
Advantageously, according to the invention, the second
modelling branch 12 also comprises, connected between the RL circuit and the second
terminal T2, a first complex swinging circuit 15 in turn comprising a variable number
of elementary swinging circuits formed from switches and RL circuits.
Finally, the third branch 13 comprises, again in series
between the terminals T1 and T2 respectively, a DC generator, a switch and an RLC
Advantageously, according to the invention, the third modelling
branch 13 also comprises, connected between the RLC circuit and the second terminal
T2, a second complex swinging circuit 16 in turn comprising a variable number of
elementary swinging circuits formed from switches and RLC circuits.
The elementary swinging circuits can be series circuits,
as illustrated as an example in figure 3, but, in a totally equivalent way, they
can be parallel circuits or mixed series-parallel circuits.
Moreover, it should be noted that the complex swinging
circuits 15 and 16 substantially comprise elementary components such as resistors,
inductors and capacitors, organised in meshes or networks, such meshes being able
to be increased in number as illustrated in figure 4.
For the sake of simplicity of presentation, hereafter reference
shall be made to a base double mesh, as illustrated in figure 3, the considerations
and the results obtained nevertheless being able to be easily translated to all
possible more complex derived schemes.
Starting from known equilibrium values of the Na-K pump,
the bionic model 10 according to the invention allows an artificial or bionic neural
structure to be obtained. In particular, the proposed bionic neural structure is
made to work in a substantially forced way, artificially causing its imbalance.
For this purpose, in the bionic neural structure of the
present invention additional switches are inserted and the generic resistances are
replaced with special resistors, working in variable frequency fields in predetermined
ranges, as shall become clear in the rest of the description.
In such a way, by interrupting the operation of such elements
with particular frequencies, conditions of imbalance can be created, consequently
obtaining the generation of different current values that in turn cause various
emissions of signals in transmission with various frequencies and various waveforms.
Advantageously, according to the invention, the proposed
bionic neural structure comprises a plurality of modular cards, connected together,
suitable for producing analogue electrical information signals with various waveforms
and various electrical powers.
In particular, to be able to simulate a neural communication,
such a bionic neural structure acts with frequencies operating in the field of radio
waves and in the field of light waves. Moreover, the electrical powers used for
the generation and subsequent treatment of signals are bio-compatible or computer-compatible,
according to the following ways:
- 1. for frequencies operating in the field of radio waves, the powers are bio-compatible;
- 2. for frequencies operating in the field of light waves, the powers are computer-compatible.
A bionic neural structure 20 comprises a central section
21 responsible for the generation of signals for transmission, as well as a first
22A and a second end section 22B connected to the central section 21 and to a respective
input terminal IN and output terminal OUT of the bionic neural structure 20.
In particular, the first end section 22A is suitable for
collecting control signals received on the input terminal IN and for sending them
to the central station, whereas the second end section 22B is suitable for routing
and amplifying the signals for the transmission coming from the central section
21 towards the output terminal OUT.
The bionic neural structure 20 according to the invention
allows the connection between a first 23A and a second group of biological neurones
23B, in particular at a first and a second intersynaptic space 24A and 24B, respectively.
Advantageously, according to the invention, the bionic
neural structure 20 is also equipped with an input interface 25A, connected between
the first intersynaptic space 24A and the input terminal IN, and with an output
interface 25B, connected between the output terminal OUT and the second intersynaptic
In particular, the input interface 25A comprises a set
of contact probes suitable for receiving suitable neuro-electric signals from the
first intersynaptic space 24A and connected to control and feedback elements.
In the same way, the output interface 25B comprises a set
of contact probes suitable for transmitting suitable neuro-electric signals to the
second intersynaptic space 24B and connected to control and feedback elements.
In such a case, the connection probes, in reception and
in transmission, contained in the input and output interfaces 25A and 25B, respectively,
are similar and/or analogous to those now conventionally used for brain stereotaxic
In a totally equivalent way, it is possible to use the
bionic neural structure 20 according to the invention for connection to a first
and second group of integrated circuits 26A and 26B, respectively, replacing the
contact probes inside the input and output interfaces with suitable connection terminals,
as schematically illustrated in figure 6.
In such a case, the connection terminals, in reception
and in transmission, contained in the input and output interfaces 25A and 25B, respectively,
are similar and/or analogous to the usual ones between wired circuits and/or integrated
The proposed bionic neural structure 20 is, indeed, able
to work in at least two ways of operating and therefore in at least two separate
fields of application:
- 1. according to a first way illustrated in figure 5, to carry out a connection
from the outside of an organism towards its inside or else inside the organism itself;
- 2. according to a second way illustrated in figure 6, to carry out a connection
from the outside of a data processing machine towards its inside or else inside
the data processing machine itself.
It is also possible to consider a third way of operating
with mixed operation in which an organism and a data processing machine work in
special conditions of interconnection.
Therefore, the bionic neural structure 20 according to
the invention operates receiving and transmitting analogue signals, which, by their
nature, provide all possible information and are the only things that are bio-compatible,
avoiding transductions and/or conversions.
To do this, the bionic neural structure 20 comprises a
plurality of elementary components, or bionic modules, based upon the bionic model
10 of the Na-K pump illustrated in figure 3.
In particular, each module 30, as schematically indicated
in figure 7, comprises a first, a second and a third circuit branch 31, 32 and 33,
respectively, corresponding to the modelling branches illustrated with reference
to the bionic module 10, the number h of which can vary (with h>3).
Studying such a module 30 it has been found that it is
able to generate five types of signals S 1-S5 at internal circuit nodes.
In particular, the first circuit branch 31 has a first
and a second internal circuit node X11 and X21, respectively, at the ends of a capacitor
included in it. In the same way, the second circuit branch 32 has a first and a
second internal circuit node X21 and X22, respectively, at the ends of a first RL
circuit included in it, a third and a fourth internal circuit node X23 and X24,
respectively, at the ends of a second RL circuit included in it. Finally, the third
circuit branch 33 has a first and a second internal circuit node X31 and X32, respectively,
at the ends of a first RLC circuit included in it, a third and a fourth internal
circuit node X33 and X34, respectively, at the ends of a second RLC circuit included
Simulating the operation of the module 30, it was thus
noted that the simple signals (S1, S2, S3, S4, S5) were similar or analogous to
the intra-cellular ones, whereas the composite ones (S1-S3, S2-S3, S4-S3, S5-S3)
were similar or analogous to the extra-cellular ones.
In particular, the similarity or analogy relative to the
following properties was noted:
- 1. Current intensity
- 2. Difference in potential
- 3. Frequency
- 4. Waveform
Moreover, corresponding counter-signals were obtained by
simply inverting the power supplies of the circuit branches 31-33, as schematically
illustrated in figure 8 where a module 30A suitable for making an Na-K pump and
a module 30B suitable for making an Na-K inverse pump are compared.
Advantageously, according to the invention, using different
frequencies for the switch included in the module 30, different amperage values
were obtained, in other words correct operation also on the highest harmonics.
In such a way, it is also possible to activate various
information flows inside the module 30 in a manner also synchronous with possible
peripheral receivers and not just on a single effective receiver.
To do this, the module 30 is suitably connected to a logic
processing structure 31 comprising a plurality of logic gates suitable for receiving
signals S1-S5 inside the module 30 in an alternating manner, so as to provide information
bands on a plurality of output terminals OUTn, as schematically illustrated in figure
The plurality of logic gates inside the logic processing
structure 31, similar or analogous to digital NOT, AND, OR gates, is organised in
groups, according to known configurations in series and/or in parallel.
In particular, each initial signal S1-S5 produced inside
the module 30 (analogue electric information signal) is treated by the groups of
logic gates to obtain elementary information bands (again analogue electric information
signals) responding to the conditions dictated by a conventional logic (of the binary
0.1 type) and/or by "Fuzzy" logic, to then be recomposed in the output information
Each module 30 can comprise twenty-seven configurations
that can also coexist, as schematically illustrated in figure 10, given by the combinations
of the base distribution; in particular, these theoretically correspond to twenty-seven
biochemical mechanisms that are similar or analogous, causing, in simulation, the
analogue of twenty-seven resonance hybrids.
Advantageously, according to the invention, the modules
30 thus conceived in their different configurations, are organised into groups 40,
each comprising up to n modules, as schematically illustrated in figure 11 with
Moreover, each group or assembly of m groups makes a modular
card 50 according to the invention, as schematically illustrated in figure 11 with
According to the invention, the modular cards 50 are organised
- 1. sub-sub-assemblies for example of eight cards (one of which in conventional
logic and seven in fuzzy logic) to constitute a first subassembly 50A of 64 cards;
- 2. sub-sub-assemblies for example of eight cards (one of which in fuzzy logic
and seven in conventional logic) to constitute a second subassembly 50B of 64 cards.
In this case, the two sub-assemblies constitute an overall
assembly capable of generating the signals required for the bionic neural structure
20, in the illustrated example using 128 cards that make a base assembly 60 as schematically
illustrated in figure 12.
Each new band of information signals is divided into various
bands of sub-signals with suitable retro-actuated phasing, which, in turn, are distributed,
for example, between the modular cards, with the mathematical criteria of the Setting,
Combination and Permutation operations, obtaining composite bands.
Each composite band can, in turn, be amplified (through
groups of circuits with two or more meshes, similar to the previous ones and replaced
in their functions by modules or blocks, for example of the AGC and/or PGA type)
and, subsequently prepared for transmission with final controls carried out through
further groups of circuits with two or more meshes, also similar to the previous
ones and replaced in their functions by modules or blocks, for example of the AGC
and/or PGA type, thus obtaining the definitive signals.
Each definitive signal, ready for analogue transmission,
can also be subjected to Analogue/Digital converters to obtain possible immediate
The signals transmitted (just like those received) are
also retro-actuated up to the switches of the individual branches of the individual
meshes of the individual electrical schemes, to carry out both new ways of producing
the initial signals (waveform, wavelength, electrical power), and the formation
of growing memories (for example of the E2 type) that are also subjected
to possible computerised controls.
The switches contained in the modules 30 are also able
(through suitable frequency adapters, waveform adapters, etc.) to receive signals
from other transmission sources, signals that in turn regulate the production of
the signals to be transmitted both in waveform, in wavelength and in electrical
With reference to the ways of operating of the bionic neural
structure 20, illustrated previously, at this point it is useful to specify the
operation of the first and of the second end section 22A, 22B of the bionic neural
structure 20 according to the invention.
In particular, according to the first way, the analogue
signals going in are directed to frequency and waveform converters of the swings
of the elementary circuits included in the bionic neural structure 20, provided
comparing with the memories of the generation circuits themselves.
In the same way, the analogue signals in output are sent
to double probes one of which is in feedback for comparing with the memories of
the generation circuits.
Moreover, according to the second way, the digital signals
going in are firstly subjected to Digital/Analogue converters and then directed
to the frequency and waveform converters of the swings of the circuits, provided
comparing with the memories of the generation circuits.
In the same way, the analogue signals in output are firstly
subjected to Digital/Analogue converters and then sent to double connections one
of which is in feedback for comparing, after the obvious Digital/Analogue conversion,
with the memories of the generation circuits.
In conclusion, the bionic neural structure 20 allows an
instrument operating exclusively with (direct or indirect) analogue inputs and outputs,
whilst still being totally compatible with possible digital commands, to be made.
It should be highlighted that the proposed bionic neural
structure 20 has numerous applications according to the ways of operating indicated
and illustrated above.
In particular, according to a first way of operating, the
bionic neural structure 20 makes it possible to make:
- bionic components of animal and vegetable organisms;
- simulations and/or counter-simulations (for therapeutic purposes) of any type
of cellular signal through generation of the same energy contents of the cells considered;
- by-pass components for applications in cases of tetraplegia, paresis, or similar,
deriving from external causes, i.e. from ictus, from aneurisms and/or similar;
- components for partial or total replacement of cerebral nerve pairs or of nerve
channels of the dorsal vertebrae;
- intervention means on sensory and/or motor situations for any type of neuropathy,
for example in cases of Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, in the case of sclerosis,
epilepsy, senile dementia, impotence, frigidity, as well as in the case of degeneration
of the tissues for causes, which may also be external, acting on the nervous system;
- generic or specific intervention means on the central or peripheral nervous
system, voluntary or involuntary, total or partial;
- intervention means on brain sectors, for any type of dysfunction, like in the
case of dysphemia, neurosis, psychosis, anorexia, bulimia, anxiety, stress, depression,
obesity, total or partial loss of memory, of sleep, etc.;
- intervention means on bacterial or viral pathologies;
- intervention means on various symptomatologies like, for example, neuralgia,
myalgia, arthrosis, etc.;
- intervention means on neoplastic cells, on the lymphatic system, on the enzymatic
system, on the immune system and on the hormonal system;
- intervention means on biological apparatuses and tissues;
- simulations of macromolecular behaviour in biological systems and/or apparatuses;
- direct and, above all, inverse, protein simulations for applications in the
study of AIDS, AIF, Prions, etc;
- simulations of biological mechanisms like, for example, those of ATP, MAO, etc.;
- functional replacement devices of neuro-transmitters or protides in general
through simulation of their relative energy contents; and
- functional replacement devices of groups of artificial cells (staminal, glial,
etc.) through simulation of the relative energy contents.
In the same way, according to the second way of operating,
the bionic neural structure 20 makes it possible to make:
- parts or the totality of a super-computer network, acting at the speed of light
and, each one, with the complexity of a human brain; and
- parts or the totality of a signal receiving and transmitting network, acting
at the speed of light and with the complexity of a human brain.
Finally, according to the third way of operating, the bionic
neural structure 20 makes it possible to make, for example, an interconnection system
between the biological and the artificial, for tele-monitoring and/or sanitary tele-tests
Advantageously, the proposed bionic neural structure 20
has a structural configuration such as to be able to be transformed, for example
using the methods of nanotechnology, into structures, for example fullerenic and/or
of nano-tubes and/or other.
In such a way, using the bionic neural structure 20 according
to the invention and a series of multi-layer analogue circuits it is possible to
make a biomedical device and a super calculator parallel with the complexity of
It should also be highlighted that the proposed bionic
neural structure 20 is not only self-organising, but continually refers to itself,
basically behaving like a autopoietic system, i.e. based upon the processes and
upon their mutual relations and on the feedback between them.
The hardware structure of the bionic neural structure 20
does not require any software programme, by itself carrying out an operating programme
in a virtual, autonomous, dynamic and automatic way.
Advantageously, according to the invention, the proposed
bionic neural structure 20 transmits and processes analogue signals, in other words