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Ear-Powered Medical Devices In Development

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the by-solar-panels-on-the-back dept.

Biotech 20

cylonlover writes "Our ears work by converting the vibrations of the eardrum into electrochemical signals that can be interpreted by the brain. The current for those signals is supplied by an ion-filled chamber deep within the inner ear – it's essentially a natural battery. Scientists are now looking at using that battery to power devices that could be implanted in the ear, without affecting the recipient's hearing. The 'battery chamber' is located in the cochlea. It is internally divided by a membrane, some of the cells of which are designed to pump ions. The arrangement of those specialized cells, combined with an imbalance of potassium and sodium ions on opposite sides of the membrane, are what creates the electrical voltage. A team of scientists from MIT, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology have recently succeeded in running an ultra-low-power radio-transmitting chip using power from these battery chambers – in guinea pigs' ears."

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20 comments

First (-1, Troll)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a year and a half ago | (#41934733)

First

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41934843)

What? Speak up! I've got a current siphoning device in my ear!

Unintended consequences? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41934755)

What could possibly go wrong, drawing from a power source used by the body to do other stuff?

Re:Unintended consequences? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#41934797)

Burning extra calories?

Re:Unintended consequences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41934999)

What do suppose the odds are that you spotted a problem that a team of Harvard and MIT scientists overlooked?

Re:Unintended consequences? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935195)

Dunno; I'm no statistician either.

I wonder if we could wire our ears to the grid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41934847)

Also, What happens when the ear insert chip shorts and you trip a breaker?

So it seems like... (1)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about a year and a half ago | (#41934855)

all the innovation in hearing lately is coming from everywhere BUT the hearing aid companies. Seriously can't wait for the advances in stem cells, electronics, etc to replace that entire industry. - HEX

So all those psych patients complaining (4, Funny)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41934861)

about the radio chips implanted in their heads by the government were right.

Re:So all those psych patients complaining (2)

gewalker (57809) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935057)

That is nothing, wait until they start complaining about implanted guinea pigs.

Yes but (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935203)

we always knew that was going on...

Damn blogs (5, Informative)

arielCo (995647) | about a year and a half ago | (#41934985)

Source: Medical devices powered by the ear itself - MIT News Office [mit.edu]

Also usable elsewhere in the body: New energy source for future medical implants: sugar [mit.edu] - Implantable fuel cell built at MIT could power neural prosthetics that help patients regain control of limbs.

"cylonlover writes..." (3, Funny)

Conchobair (1648793) | about a year and a half ago | (#41934989)

The submitter makes me suspicious about this news. Get the airlock ready.

Google (1)

isaacdl (2691365) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935123)

Google is just trying to figure out how to record everything you hear "to better personalize your experience".

I for one welcome (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935401)

our cyborg, super-hearing, radio-wave transmitting, paranoid delusional, guinea pig overlords.

Need some sterile tin foil (1)

cruff (171569) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935707)

Great, now I'll have to put the tin foil hat inside my skull....

Re:Need some sterile tin foil (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936623)

Great, now I'll have to put the tin foil hat inside my skull....

Can industry make an affordable tinfoil hat? Now its a medical device.

Now imagine the future (1)

MakerDusk (2712435) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935807)

So, low powered radio transmitters... I wonder how long it will be before this ties into cell communications. It would be nice to have the internet in one's head. Our day draws nearer. I seem to remember that the Chinese were able to pull noise ridden images from test subjects' minds a few years back. Hopefully within our lifetime these will all be combined and jailbroken.

Re:Now imagine the future (2)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937647)

think subdermal bluetooth headset.

you can really walk around talking like a crazy person and be completely correct.

when your phone rings only you will be able to hear it.bbnow if they could come up with a subvocalized microphone to go with it then you could have a full conversation while looking like your paying attention in a boring meeting.

so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935881)

could we add ears to the devices? Electronics powered by sound would be BA

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