A Fully-Implantable MEMS-Based Autonomous Cochlear Implant
Middle East Technical University
Electrical and Electronics Engineering
Micro Electro Mechanical Systems
Focusing on what matters the most: Human well-being
Prof. Külah has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Unions Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. The Consolidator Grant (CoG), 2015, ERC-2015-CoG of 1.9 Million €. Start date: 2016-07-01, End date: 2021-06-30.
European Research Council
Cochlear implants (CI) are used by patients with sensorineural hearing loss to bypass the damaged ear organelles directly stimulating the auditory nerve. However, current state of the commercial CIs has drawbacks such as need for frequent battery replacement, risk of external components damage, and aesthetics. Fully implantable CI has the potential to eliminate the aforementioned concerns, but a reliable internal power source and an implantable acoustic sensor that are fit into a small volume are the main bottlenecks. BioMEMS Research Group, Electrical and Electronics Engineering of Middle East Technical University is working towards overcoming these challenges to improve the lives of people with sensorineural impairement. The goal is to give the patients their freedom to hear and be exposed to water, and social confidence.
FLAMENCO, provides a different approach for fitting of the cochlear implants. The whole system can be fully implanted eliminating the issues with current systems.
Replacement of the battery is completely eliminated using a piezoelectric energy harvesting (PEH) system using acoustic waves. The frequency range used to recharge the battery does not interfere with hearing of the patient.
A coil is used to calibrate the system for each patient to get the best results, this coil is removed after calibration.
All the benefits providesd by the FLAMENCO project will enhance the daily adaptation of patients. We beleive that once it is implanted you will forget it.