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11 April 2006 An electronic prosthesis mimicking the dynamic vestibular function
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This paper reports our progress toward development of a unilateral vestibular prosthesis. The sensing element of the prosthesis is a custom designed one-axis MEMS gyroscope. Similarly to the natural semicircular canal, the microscopic gyroscope senses angular motion of the head and generates voltages proportional to the corresponding angular accelerations. Then, voltages are sent to the pulse generating unit where angular motion is translated into voltage pulses. The voltage pulses are converted into current pulses and are delivered through specially designed electrodes, conditioned to stimulate the corresponding vestibular nerve branch. Our preliminary experimental evaluations of the prosthesis on a rate table indicate that the device's output matches the average firing rate of vestibular neurons to those in animal models reported in the literature. The proposed design is scalable; the sensing unit, pulse generator, and the current source can be potentially implemented on a single chip using integrated MEMS technology.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Andrei M. Shkel "An electronic prosthesis mimicking the dynamic vestibular function", Proc. SPIE 6174, Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems, 617414 (11 April 2006);


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