Researchers Develop New Low-Power Signal-Processing Chip for Cochlear Implants

A team of researchers at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory (MTL) with physicians from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) developed a low-power signal-processing chip that could change the future of cochlear implants. The device would require no external hardware and would be recharged wirelessly.

Cochlear implants currently use a skull-mounted sensor, but this new implant would utilize the natural microphone of the middle ear to detect vibrations to stimulate the auditory nerve. The device would convert the vibration to an electrical signal and route it to an electrode in the cochlea – the small, spiral chamber in the inner ear. One challenge in developing this new chip was to lower the power requirement compared to what is used in the skull-mounted hardware.

Read more about the future of cochlear implants.