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A Thin-Film Cochlear Electrode Array With Integrated Position Sensing

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2 Author(s)
Wang, J. ; Dev. Dept., Texas Instrum., Plano, TX ; Wise, K.D.

A thin-film electrode array with integrated position sensors has been developed for a cochlear prosthesis. The array is designed to minimize tissue damage during array insertion and achieve deep implants that hug the modiolus inside the cochlea. The array is fabricated using bulk micromachining technology and contains embedded polysilicon piezoresistive sensors for wall-contact detection and array-shape recognition. Nine strain gauges are distributed at the tip and along the array, covering the 8-mm-long shank. Each sensor is arranged in a half Wheatstone bridge whose output signal is time multiplexed, amplified (10 or 30 times), and band limited. The equivalent gauge factors are typically about 15, permitting array-tip position to be determined within a 50-mum resolution while providing wall-contact output signals of more than 50 mV at the tip. The arrays use a parylene-silicon-dielectric-electrode structure, improving flexibility while maintaining enough robustness to facilitate a modiolus-hugging shape defined by a polymeric backing device. Integrated with an articulated position-control device, such arrays are the first step toward providing closed-loop control of array insertion and improved perception of speech and music.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 2 )