The objective was to develop a physical action potential generator (Paxon) with the ability to generate a stable, repeatable, programmable, and physiological-like action potential. The Paxon has an equivalent of 40 nodes of Ranvier that were mimicked using resin embedded gold wires (Ø = 20 μm). These nodes were software controlled and the action potentials were initiated by a start trigger. Clinically used Ag-AgCl electrodes were coupled to the Paxon for functional testing. The Paxon's action potential parameters were tunable using a second order mathematical equation to generate physiologically relevant output, which was accomplished by varying the number of nodes involved (1-40 in incremental steps of 1) and the node drive potential (0-2.8 V in 0.7 mV steps), while keeping a fixed inter-nodal timing and test electrode configuration. A system noise floor of 0.07 ± 0.01 μV was calculated over 50 runs. A differential test electrode recorded a peak positive amplitude of 1.5 ± 0.05 mV (gain of 40x) at time 196.4 ± 0.06 ms, including a post trigger delay. The Paxon's programmable action potential like signal has the possibility to be used as a validation test platform for medical surface electrodes and their attached systems.

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Keywords Action potential, Biomedical electrode, Electronic nerve model, Nodes of Ranvier, Ulnar nerve
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Journal Frontiers in Neuroscience
Latorre, M.A. (Malcolm A.), Chan, A, & Wårdell, K. (Karin). (2015). A physical action potential generator: Design, implementation and evaluation. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 9(OCT). doi:10.3389/fnins.2015.00371