Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a neuromodulatory approach for treatment of several neurological and psychiatric disorders. A new focus on optimising the waveforms used for stimulation is emerging regarding the mechanism of DBS treatment. Many existing DBS devices offer only a limited set of predefined waveforms, mainly rectangular, and hence are inapt for exploring the emerging paradigm. Advances in clinical DBS are moving towards incorporating new stimulation parameters, yet we remain limited in our capacity to test these in animal models, arguably a critical first step. Accordingly, there is a need for the development of new miniature, low-power devices to enable investigation into the new DBS paradigms in preclinical settings. The ideal device would allow for flexibility in the stimulation waveforms, while remaining suitable for chronic, tetherless, biphasic deep brain stimulation. In this work, we elucidate several key parameters in a DBS system, identify gaps in existing solutions, and propose a new device to support preclinical DBS. The device allows for a high degree of flexibility in the output waveform with easily altered shape, frequency, pulse-width and amplitude. The device is suitable for both traditional and modern stimulation schemes, including those using non-rectangular waveforms, as well as delayed feedback schemes. The device incorporates active charge balancing to ensure safe operation, and allows for simple production of custom biphasic waveforms. This custom waveform output is unique in the field of preclinical DBS devices, and could be advantageous in performing future DBS studies investigating new treatment paradigms. This tetherless device can be easily and comfortably carried by an animal in a back-mountable configuration. The results of in-vitro tests are presented and discussed.
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