Inomed is a German medical technology company developing sophisticated systems for precisely-targeted patient treatment. It is a participant in the Hybrid Brain project for the development of brain-computer interface technologies, which is run by the Freiburg-based Bernstein Center for Neurotechnology.
In the context of the project, Inomed needed to develop a device that would assist doctors treating epilepsy patients in locating spastic cortical tissue. To locate the tissue, doctors apply low electric currents to multiple electrodes connected to the brain in order to evoke tissue response. On the basis of those responses, the doctors can identify the spastic tissue.
The multiplexer-like device developed by Inomed enables doctors to specify defined electrodes within an array of up to 256 and to apply the current only to those electrodes. Named the Matrix Stimulator, it consists of a huge array of relays, activated by a microcontroller. The activation of the switches is controlled by a PC, which is connected to the stimulator via USB 2.0.
Inomed was able to implement the USB connection in a short time and without specialized USB knowledge using Jungo’s WinDriver USB driver software.
WinDriver enabled Inomed to develop the stimulator hardware and the software on the PC sequentially – i.e. the company was able to verify the stability of its firmware before beginning development of the control software. “Usually, if a problem occurs during the development process, you don’t know whether it’s in the firmware – or even in the hardware – or in the software on the PC,” says Jörg Wipfler, head of Inomed R&D. “WinDriver helped enormously to avoid such problems.”
The software was developed in Visual Studio, with Microsoft Windows Embedded being the target platform.
Use of WinDriver was self-explanatory, with the result that Inomed had no need for the samples that come packaged with the product. Nor did they need to use the technical documentation.