Medical science has certainly advanced by leaps and bounds over the years. Remember those old school hearing aids? Well, the modern day ones are a whole lot smaller and work better, but what happens when bionic parts are introduced to the body without requiring any kind of exterior hardware to work? Imagine a cochlear implant which will charge itself wirelessly, relying on the natural microphone of the middle ear instead of a skull-mounted sensor to work. Imagine no more, as researchers at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory (MTL) have teamed up with physicians from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) to work on a spanking new low-power signal-processing chip which could eventually result in a cochlear implant does not need any kind of hardware on the outside to work. A full charge would enable it to run for approximately 8 hours, now how about that?
This particular chip will be presented in a paper later this week at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, where a prototype charger will also be exhibited. This prototype charger will hook up to a standard cell phone, where it will take approximately a couple of minutes to recharge the signal-processing chip. Imagine sleeping on a futuristic “smart pillow” that will charge up your implant’s battery wirelessly as you sleep – pretty cool, huh? [Press Release]