Engineering Hope with Biomimetic Systems

January 15, 2009, Cowell Provost House


Wentai Liu, PhD

Professor of Electrical Engineering

Integrated Bioelectronics Laboratory (IBR)

Campus Director of NSF-ERC on Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems (BMES)
University of California at Santa Cruz, email:




Treating intractable neural disorders such as blindness, deafness, paralysis, epilepsy with biomimetic systems is a great challenge but offers a touchy hope to the unfortunate. This talk presents the unique research of interdisciplinary efforts fusing engineering, medicine and biology conducted at Integrated Bioelectronics Laboratory (IBR).



Wentai Liu received a B.S. degree from National Chiao-Tung University in Taiwan, an M.S. degree from National Taiwan University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. In 1983, he joined North Carolina State University, where he held the Alcoa Chair Professorship in the department of electrical and computer engineering. Since 2003, he has been a professor in the electrical engineering department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he is campus director of the NSF Engineering Research Center on Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems (BMES) and is the technical thrust leader of Power and Data Thrust of BMES. His research interests include neural prosthesis, brain-machine interface, implantable microelectronics, transceiver design (wired and wireless), sensors and actuators, timing/clock optimization, computer vision/image processing. Since its early stages, he has been leading the engineering efforts of the retinal prosthesis to restore vision, finally leading to successful preliminary implant tests in blind patients. He is the designer of the second generation of retinal implant. President Clinton has cited his research as a major breakthrough in 2000 State of Union Address.


He has published more than 200 technical papers and is a co-author of Wave Pipelining: Theory and CMOS Implementation (Kluwer Academic Publishers) and Emerging Technologies: Designing Low Power Digital Systems (IEEE Press). He received an IEEE Outstanding Paper Award, Alcoa Foundationís Distinguished Engineering Research Award, IEEE/ISSCC Special session Award, NASA Group Achievement Award and Outstanding Alumni Award from National Chiao-Tung University. He is also a Chair Professor of National Chiao-Tung University. His work of wavepipeling technique has been widely used in DRAM/SRAM industry. He is a guest editor of the special Issue of IEEE Proceeding on Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems in July 2008.