I am pursuing a project that involves galvanic vestibular stimulation. This involves using four electrodes, two on the mastoids and two on the temples, to influence human balance by sending electrical signals to them. The goal is to teach balance to people with cerebral palsy who can walk with a walker or crutches or people with balance issues.
I need a circuit designed that would allow varying voltage (or current? signal?) to the electrodes to control which way the person would lean (Forward, backward, left, right) based on gyroscope (or similar device's) position. This would preferably run off an ATMega chip for easy programming.
This does involve sending some electricity through nerves in the head, again of varying voltages up to 9V and 1-1.5mA of current.
I'm trying to find someone to design this darn circuit but it is proving to be really difficult. I can pay, that is not an issue! I just need someone who can help design the circuit lol. I've tried Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal, nobody is interested in the project.
My budget is $100-$200 to have a circuit / PCB designed. Bonus points if it can be tested... Anyone out there willing to help, or know of someone who can help me out?
I hope you're kidding, but in case you're not, I think you may be disappointed.
I have over 15 years experience in applying Engineering and Management skills to Medical Device development. While the circuit itself may be simple, $200 would not even begin to cover the first page of the safety analysis that any reputable engineering outfit would need to perform before beginning something like this.
You can certainly find a hobbyist to do it for $200, but I shudder to think of what the potential failure modes could be. I would advise extreme caution.
Now, let's get legal. Your circuit fits the definition of a Medical Device as stated here (https://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/deviceregulationandguidance/overview/classifyyourdevice/ucm051512.htm).
Here (https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/PharmacyCompounding/ucm607077.htm) are the penalties (for drugs, but devices are similar) for releasing a Device without appropriate Approval.
Now, all of this is assuming there's a device on the market. I'm not a regulatory expert, but I recall that you can have a Device that's labelled For Research Use Only, but as far as I recall, it still has to be developed in an approved manner and built following Good Manufacturing Practices. PM me if you have questions. Personally, I'd tread very carefully.
Best of luck!
Indeed the design of the circuit shouldn't be too hard - but what if it goes wrong. Electricity and brains? That's potentially lethal. Reading the accelerometer wrongly, send the wrong signal to the patient, and down they go as their imbalance is suddenly enhanced instead of countered.
Then the testing: are you yourself a willing test subject, happy to subject yourself to potentially very wrong stimuli with potentially lethal outcome? Or do you have the proper equipment to ensure the design is absolutely safe to use, that there is no chance of too high currents and whatnot?
There's a reason medical devices are so expensive, and those involving electric stimulation even more so! At the very least read up on your local rules and regulations (the US specific ones are linked in #1) before even embarking on a project like this.
Do remember to raise a couple million of your dollars extra, for liability insurance, if you consider actually using it on real patients.