The EPFL research team at Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology has developed an electrode implant that has the potential to solve hearing problems caused by damage.
Until now, the auditory brainstem implant, the auditory brainstem implant (ABI), was not well suited to the part that transmits auditory signals to the brainstem. EPFL developed it, which allows it to be adhered closely thanks to its high elasticity. The EPFL Soft Bio Electronic Interface Lab has developed a soft implant in cooperation with clinicians such as Harvard Medical School. When in close contact with the brainstem auditory pathway, an implant with a surface area of only 0.25 mm 2 can recognize an electrical signal that recognizes sound.
The flexibility of this implant is realized by putting it into a platinum electrode with a micron-level micro-processing technology used for notch LSIs that refer to paper craft. It is said that it has succeeded in improving electrode conductivity compared to existing implants by wrapping it with silicon.
The research team has already achieved results in implant experiments using mice. In addition, although a human-sized version of the implant has already been completed, it is said that there are still some issues that need to be researched before the clinical trials begin.
Nevertheless, if it proceeds smoothly, it can be said that it is a technology that has the potential to restore the hearing of patients who can only recognize very simple sounds with hearing problems. The research team also seems to be able to apply it to places where doctors want to record nerve activity, such as the brain and spine, and check the response by giving a specific stimulus. Related information can be found here .