Medical Devices and Healthcare IT

Conformable electrode implant could help restore hearing

18 October 2019

An implantable remedy is being developed by researchers from Harvard Medical School and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, to improve sound perception for patients with damage to the inner ear or The highly elastic implant conforms to the curved surface of the auditory brainstem. Source: EPFLThe highly elastic implant conforms to the curved surface of the auditory brainstem. Source: EPFLauditory nerve.

Unlike available auditory brainstem implants, the new neuroprosthetic device is sufficiently elastic to conform to the curvature of the auditory brainstem, supporting the transmission of electrical signals required to restore some sense of hearing. The device is intended to treat deafness in patients who are not candidates for cochlear implants.

The elasticity of platinum electrode arrays housed in silicone is realized with the traditional Japanese paper-cutting technique called kirigami. After Y-shaped patterns are etched into metallized plastic components, methods usually associated with integrated circuit microfabrication are used to machine the metal at the micron scale, forming a compliant and conductive electrode implant. The kirigami method has also been applied by University of Michigan researchers in the development of an electronic sensor patch to measure the range of motion of hard-to-assess regions of the body.

The conformable electrode implant has been successfully tested on mice, and a version scaled for human use and in a form compatible with current surgical techniques has been produced.

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com


Powered by CR4, the Engineering Community

Discussion – 0 comments

By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and Terms of Use.
Engineering Newsletter Signup
Get the Engineering360
Stay up to date on:
Features the top stories, latest news, charts, insights and more on the end-to-end electronics value chain.
Advertisement
Weekly Newsletter
Get news, research, and analysis
on the Electronics industry in your
inbox every week - for FREE
Sign up for our FREE eNewsletter
Advertisement