Washington: Scientists have now developed a new, low-power signal-processing chip that could lead to a cochlear implant without any external hardware.
The implant developed by the researchers at MIT`s Microsystems Technology Laboratory (MTL), together with physicians from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) would be wirelessly recharged and run for about eight hours.
The researchers have also developed a prototype charger that plugs into an ordinary cell phone and can recharge the signal-processing chip in roughly two minutes.
Anantha Chandrakasan, the Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professor of Electrical Engineering said that the idea with this design is that one could use a phone, with an adaptor, to charge the cochlear implant and won`t have to be plugged in.
Existing cochlear implants use an external microphone to gather sound, but the new implant would instead use the natural microphone of the middle ear, which is almost always intact in cochlear-implant patients.