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The current-source power of an implanted stimulator is reduced almost to the theoretical minimum by driving the electrodes directly from the secondary port of the inductive link with a dedicated zero-voltage switching power supply. A feedback loop confined to the secondary of the inductive link adjusts the timing and conduction angle of switching to provide just the right amount of supply voltage needed for keeping the current-source voltage constant at or slightly above the compliance limit. Since drive is based on current rather than voltage, and supply-voltage update is near real-time, the quality of the current pulses is high regardless of how the electrode impedance evolves during stimulation. By scaling the switching frequency according to power demand, the technique further improves overall power consumption of the stimulator. The technique is implemented with a very simple control circuitry comprising a comparator, a Schmitt trigger and a logic gate of seven devices in addition to an on-chip switch and an off-chip capacitor. The power consumed by the proposed supply circuit itself is no larger than what the linear regulator of a conventional supply typically consumes for the same stimulation current. Still, the sum of supply and current-source power is typically between 20% and 75% of the conventional source power alone. Functionality of the proposed driver is verified experimentally on a proof-of-concept prototype built with 3.3 V devices in a 0.18 μm CMOS technology.
Biomedical Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:7 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: Aug. 2013