MIT engineers use a “natural battery” in the ear to power implant
Following in the same track of research into “ultra-low-power” medical devices as other MIT researches earlier this year, a team of researchers from MIT’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infimary (MEEI) demonstrated the ability to directly harness electrical energy from the inner ear without impairing hearing.
The cochlea, a portion of the ear unique to mammals, translates sound vibrations to the eardrum into electrochemical signals for the brain to process, making it into a “natural battery”. Although scientists have understood this process for years now, it was considered dangerous to attempt experimentation with the inner ear since it could result in a loss of hearing. This experiment is the first to demonstrate that it is possible to tap into this energy source without producing any hearing loss