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This invention presents a novel method of reducing brain tissue strain and therefore glial scarring through lowering the elastic modulus of neural implants to more closely mimic that of brain tissue. Although the brain’s elastic modulus varies between 5-100kPa, most implants have elastic moduli on the order of GPa, a significant contributing factor to low long term biocompatibility. To increase biocompatibility, a dry hydrogel coating is covalently bonded to a device to allow for confirmation of coating integrity. The thickness and elastic modulus of the coating may be adjusted for its specific application through polymer composition, making it applicable to most implant materials and designs. Upon implantation, the hydrogel swells to match the mechanical properties of brain tissue and thereby reduce scarring. This technology will reduce the incidence of neural implant failure, while increasing its effectiveness for long term use.