Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Coil for Mice

Our project involved the design and testing of a new TMS coil system to enable improved brain research in mice. Using high currents through magnetic coils, electric fields are induced within the brain which artificially cause neurons to fire. With applications in the treatment of disorders like strokes, Parkinson's, tinnitus, depression, and PTSD this non-invasive procedure is a promising method of brain research.
Our group is comprised of two Computer and three Electrical Engineering seniors working in conjunction with the magnetics research group at Iowa State University.


Final presentation given in May 2013 to an industry review panel.

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Final document detailing the status of the project, progress to date, and future plans.

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Halo Coil

Previous work at Iowa State University improving deep-brain penetration of TMS in humans, which opened new research possiblities. Inspiration for our project to create a mouse coil for deep-brain stimulation.

Read the paper »

From the Out of Despair article in proto magazine published
by the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Current applications.
A "magical" treatment.

For patients such as J.T. featured on the right in an image from the Massachusetts General Hospital, the action of the figure-of-eight coil shown seems almost magical. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is administered without contacting his head, keeping depression at bay without the discomfort or hassle of invasive surgerys required by many other stimulation techniques.

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Complex system design. Simple to use.

Currently transcranial magnetic stimulation is carried out successfully on human subjects by medical professionals with little to no knowledge of electromagnetic theory. However, our focus on research applications of stimulating mice brains requires an understanding of electromagnetic theory to be effective.

Our system consists of four main components; the stimulator, the signal, the coils and helmet, and fields produced by the coils. The stimulator was a provided power source already in use by the ISU TMS research group. Furthermore, the source provides the critical input signal used to pulse the coils and produce quick bursts of magnetic field (B-field). Coils are positioned such that their fields are superimposed to create a desired field profile. The coils themselves consist of multiple loops to maximize field strength and focality. The B-field produced by the coils induces electric field (E-field) inside the brain. Once the E-field achieves a sufficient strength or firing potential, neurons fire and TMS therapy can take place.


Check out our poster linked from the image on the right or check out the documents page.